Hall of Fame

Peter A. Ciavaglia
Ice Hockey

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

Peter is a four year letterwinner for the men's hockey team and the co-recipient of the Bingham Award in 1991with fellow inductee Ralph James '91. His accolades include ECAC Player of the Year in 1990-91, Ivy League Player of the Year in 1990-91 and Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 1987-88. He earned First Team All-Ivy in 1988-89 and 1990-91, First Team All-ECAC in 1990-91 and Second Team All-ECAC in 1988-89. He was an ECAC All-Rookie team selection in 1987-88 and Second Team All-American in 1990-91. A Hobey Baker Finalist, Peter led the ECAC in scoring in both his sophomore and senior years, the only player at the time to garner the league’s scoring title twice. He was the leading scorer for the history making 1989 team that won the national championship. Peter's name is still prominent in the Harvard record book. He is current tied with himself for eighth in points in a season, fourth for points in a career, tied for seventh for goals in a career, tied for third in game winning goals, tied for second in short handed goals in a season, second and seventh in assists in a season, and second on the career assists list. Following graduation Peter compete in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and as a member of the U.S. National Team in 1994.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I still have vivid memories of our National Championship victory in 1989. I had one of the clearest views in the entire arena of Ed Krayer’s overtime shot as it slowly drifted past the goal line in what seemed to take an eternity to complete. I remember a contingent of roughly 500 people cheering in an arena that was more or less stunned into silence by the dramatic loss of its home team Minnesota Gophers. I remember the victory celebration on the ice. have been undoubtedly blessed from an athletic standpoint throughout the greater part of my life. When I think back upon my career, I tend not to recall specific moments as much as I do the overall impressions left by each journey. There has been one question that I have been asked a few times over the years that has defined the personal significance of my experiences. When asked which athletic experience stands out the most, one answer immediately pops into my head: playing hockey at Harvard University. It is not just our Beanpot and National Championship victories that stand out, although they were certainly the highlights of my career; it is the entire Harvard experience. Many are surprised at my response and the speed at which it comes. At first, I surprised myself.

I would feel a strong sense of pride before each game as I put on my Harvard jersey. When I look back, nothing compared to playing for my school. However, there have been close seconds as I have been fortunate in my career. Playing in the 1994 Olympics will always be a cherished memory. It became a dream to compete in the Olympics the day after the 1980 U.S. Team won the gold medal. Being the first local athlete to play for his hometown Buffalo Sabres in the NHL is another accomplishment that I am very proud to have achieved. Although my NHL career lasted only five games, skating in that arena will never be forgotten. Still, Harvard hockey ranks highest on my list.

The main reasons that make the Harvard experience that much more special revolve around two primary factors. The first involves people. I did not realize it at the time but the coaches, teammates, managers, and trainers that came into my life during those four years were the best people I would ever encounter in the sport. Both Bill Cleary and Ronn Tomassoni were more than your traditional coaches. They each had the unique ability to teach the intricacies of the sport, demand excellence, and provide structure and discipline, all while creating an enjoyable atmosphere. There were many life lessons learned that reached well beyond the game. My character and priorities in life became more clearly defined. We were taught to be good human beings first, good students next, and good athletes last. I learned that you did not need to make a choice between academics and athletics. To quote coach Cleary, “you can do both and do both well.” When I hear questions about the dedication of Harvard athletes, I can’t help but think about the National Championship Banner hanging from the rafters in Bright Arena.

My teammates were of the special variety as well, with their talent and unselfishness at a level I never experienced thereafter. I have learned that in most cases, the activity one participates in is not nearly as important as with whom it is shared. I looked forward to every practice and every game. I loved to compete, but I realized it was my teammates who made it special. From year to year, we were dedicated to one common goal- winning. It would be the last time I would compete in that type of environment. I developed many strong friendships throughout my four years at Harvard. There is no doubt that my experiences would not have been the same without them.

The other and more influential factor in my success involved sacrifice. It is not my sacrifices that I recall, but those of my family. My parents deserve the majority of the credit for the honor of my induction into the Hall of Fame. I simply made the most out of my abilities given the opportunities that were available to me. They were the ones who created those opportunities through their hard work and dedication. They sacrificed far more than I ever had to in order to provide me with every chance to succeed. While many people could not understand how or why they came to virtually every game throughout my career despite the seven plus hour drive each weekend, I understood their selfless dedication. I will forever be grateful for their actions. My sister Lisa, who was often dragged to one arena or another, never complained. She always wished for my best, even when she was inconvenienced by my schedule. She was a great athlete but never engaged in any sibling rivalry, only offered unconditional support. All I can say to them is thank you. I could not have achieved this without you.

My induction into Harvard’s Hall of Fame is a wonderful honor. Although I am grateful for this award, Harvard athletics taught me that it is more about the team than the individual. I respectfully accept this induction on behalf of all of my teammates. There are too many people to thank and too many special emotions to describe. It is difficult to accurately communicate in words the impact of Harvard athletics on my life.