Hall of Fame

Jerry Pawloski - 86-87
Jerry Pawloski
Ice Hockey

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

erry Pawloski’s remarkable career began with a stellar freshman year in which he shared Harvard hockey’s Percy Award with fellow Hall of Famer Lane MacDonald ’88/’89 and was drafted into the NHL by the Hartford Whalers. Over the next few years at the collegiate level, Pawloski continuously impressed the coaching staff with his knowledge of the game, his tenacious open-ice body check, and his ability to shine in clutch situations. As legendary coach Billy Cleary ’56 said, “If it’s late and the game is on the line, Jerry is the first guy I put on the ice.” While trying out for the 1988 Olympic Team in the summer of 1986, Pawloski suffered a debilitating ACL injury that should have sidelined him for his entire junior year. Through intense rehabilitation exercises at Dillon Field House, Pawloski managed to return to the ice after missing just 16 games, and his physical play was instrumental in the teams’ ECAC Tournament Championship and run to the NCAA Tournament’s Frozen Four. Despite a career truncated by injury, Jerry amassed an impressive total 62 career points (9 goals and 53 assists) and was widely regarded as one of the best defensemen in Harvard history. In 1988, Jerry was awarded the Tudor Memorial Cup (with Don Sweeney) as the most valuable player of the hockey team. Additionally, the night before his graduation in 1988, Pawloski received the John P. Fadden Award, given to the Harvard senior athlete who had overcome physical adversity to contribute to his or her team’s success.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I would like to thank the Varsity Club and the Selection Committee for such an incredible honor. It is quite amazing to be recognized among the great athletes that have represented Harvard in competition. I would like to congratulate my fellow inductees honored here tonight and in particular my fellow hockey inductees.

To be honest, Harvard was not initially where I had envisioned myself for my college years. I was a Michigan youth hoping to play college hockey somewhere close to home and I am sure that my family would have preferred a shorter commute to see me play as well. It was not until receiving a recruiting call from assistant coach Ronn Tomassoni during December of my senior year in high school that Harvard became a college option. It seemed so remote at the time. Ronn relentlessly encouraged me to attend Harvard and play hockey, and I am thankful for his persistence. It is because of his effort that I had such a great collegiate hockey experience and have such great lifelong friendships.

For me, Harvard Hockey was the ultimate experience. Paired with Scott Fusco in preseason workouts, I immediately learned the definition of “work ethic” and the level of commitment it would take to excel. The high level of commitment on our teams and the willingness to work made our success even more enjoyable. I was fortunate to be coached by Bill Cleary who made sure it was fun to be at the rink everyday, which was important for someone as intense and serious like me. He encouraged us to play without fear of making a mistake. We played with the same passion that he coached.

My teammates over the four years were simply the best and made my experience something I cherish to this day. We had a range of personalities but we were all focused on the same goal: winning. It was the competition in practice everyday against a teammate like Steve Armstrong that not only made me a better player but a better person, as we demanded the best out of each other at all times. Fellow inductee and good friend Don Sweeney was a measuring stick on the blueline as we constantly pushed each other on the ice and in the weight room to become the best players we could be.

As a naïve Midwesterner going into Cambridge, I assumed that I would learn the most from going to class everyday with some of the brightest people around. However, it was across the river at the Bright Center and Dillon Field House that I learned as much about life and the skills needed to navigate the road ahead. In the training room, Dick Emerson’s quick wit kept you on your toes and his skills kept you on the ice. In the rink, two-time Olympian Jack Kirrane always had a kind word and was a great mentor. His work ethic and humility were great standards to aspire to. Chet Stone always made sure we had the best of everything. Nobody cared more for the athletes at Harvard than he did.

My roommates: Frank, Gerald, Chris, Lane, Kevin, Chris and Ed who made our time at Harvard as entertaining and exciting of an experience that anyone could imagine. I especially thank you for your friendship and support through those trying times of rehab from my knee injury.

I would like to thank my parents for all your encouragement and sacrifices that enabled me to attend Harvard. It was your support and love that gave me the drive and strength to reach for and achieve any goal. I thank my brother, Jeff and my sister, Krist, for all your sacrifices during our youth as you were carted along through numerous hockey rinks.

Lastly, to my home team – Jennifer, Jack and Alexi. I hope that I can successfully pass along the life lessons to Jack and Alexi that I learned as a member of Harvard Hockey.