Former SU club hockey goalie remembered as team leader, full of potential
Richard ‘Richie’ Lee Carlston III was someone who strived to give his all — either for himself or for others.
‘He was a hardworking young man, and he was a pretty good student, but he was hard on himself and always wanted to do better,’ said Maureen Schwarz, a professor of anthropology and Carlston’s freshman forum adviser.
Carlston, a rising sophomore planning to major in political science, died July 22 from head and internal injuries sustained in a car crash after spending more than a day in Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.
Schwarz said Carlston’s death is a loss for the entire university. She said she remembered him as a family-focused student who was polite and conscientious.
‘He was a very nice young man — and I can’t say that about all our students at SU,’ Schwarz said. ‘He will be missed.’
Carlston’s injuries were sustained from a one-car crash in Seneca County on the New York State Thruway on July 20. Carlston was driving a 2001 four-door Hyundai sedan east on the New York State Thruway in Tyre, Seneca County, when he lost control of the car shortly before 2 p.m. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.
The lone passenger, Justin Wolf, 19, of Fairport, N.Y., was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured. Wolf and Carlston were both 2009 graduates of Fairport High School.
Carlston was an avid hockey player and a goalie for the SU men’s club hockey team, as well as for his team in high school. Teammates and coaches from both teams remember him as someone who was a dedicated player who made the team whole. He was also a member of the 2009 All-Greater Rochester hockey team.
Jon Boc, SU men’s hockey team captain and club president for the 2009-10 school year, said Carlston was one of the best goalies with whom he had played.
‘He just had the ability when the team was really relying on him to kick it into extra gear,’ said Boc, who graduated from SU in May with a degree in international relations and political science.
Boc said the team was shaken to hear the news of Carlston’s death. Boc said the coach had been excited to have a promising young goalie and the loss would disrupt the stability of the team.
Carlston had matured on and off the ice throughout the school year, Boc said. The two had a political science class together in fall 2009.
‘He loved school and everybody loved having him around,’ Boc said.
Current team captain Mike McConney said it was difficult to describe Carlston.
‘He was one of those kids you just had to meet in person,’ said McConney, a senior English and political science major.
He recalled one practice in which Carlston let another player score during a shootout so the player would be able to start the next game. The coach noticed Carlston had let the opponent score and had Carlston and those playing with him skate up and down the rink 50 times.
McConney and about half the team attended Carlston’s wake, held in his hometown of Fairport on July 26, and said the whole team planned to attend the funeral held the following day.
The team plans to continue to honor Carlston, McConney said, by inviting Carlston’s family to the first home game of the season and holding a tournament in Carlston’s name. He said Carlston’s number will be retired and his jersey hung in the ice rink.
‘No one will ever wear his number again,’ McConney said.
Chris Moretter, Carlston’s high school hockey coach, described him as someone who always had a smile on his face and was looking for harmless fun.
‘Richie is someone who just loved life,’ Moretter said. ‘He didn’t take things for granted and he wanted to share his happiness with others.’
Moretter said Carlston’s death has rocked the small but close-knit Fairport hockey community. He said Carlston’s former teammates were ‘pretty shaken up’ over the sudden loss.
A makeshift memorial site with the initials ‘RC’ spelled out in candles was created on Angel Hill, a grassy area near the Fairport High School, the morning of July 22. Angel Hill was named in memory of five 2007 Fairport graduates who died in an Ontario County car crash June 26, 2007.
Moretter said Carlston, who played as a starting goalie, was a source for the team’s success during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. In the 2007-08 season, the team was in the semifinals for the state hockey tournament.
Moretter said Carlston visited his old team when he came home on break during the school year. He said he was pleased to see Carlston still playing a game he loved at the college level.
Personal success was not something Carlston took lightly, Moretter said. He said Carlston was a leader on and off the ice and acted as a mentor and behind the scenes a coach for the younger players.
SU’s College of Arts and Sciences Dean George Langford said in a statement that Carlston was an inspiration to those in the college for his enthusiasm for hockey and for political science.
‘The entire College of Arts and Sciences mourns the loss of Richard Lee Carlston III, a valued student and friend,’ Langford said. ‘His interest in political science and his passion for ice hockey were unwavering and were an inspiration to many. He is greatly missed.’
A previous version of this article appeared on dailyorange.com July 27, 2010.
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