Carter Franz, left, a native of Cazenovia, collides with a player from Clarkson University during a recent match at St. Lawrence University. Franz was asked to help out as a practice player for the team when the coach realized the roster was short.
It’s a long way from the wide open spaces of patrolling center field for St. Lawrence University’s NCAA Division III baseball team to playing in front of 5,000 fans at the Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid in an NCAA Division I hockey game, but that is just the path Cazenovia’s Carter Franz has taken early in his senior year at St. Lawrence.
Franz, a unanimous all-league and an all-East choice for St. Lawrence’s Liberty League champion baseball team last spring was asked to help out as a practice player on the Saints’ Division I men’s ice hockey team in the fall when head coach Greg Carvel and his staff found themselves short of bodies due to a variety of circumstances.
An outstanding three-sport athlete at Cazenovia, the Saint baseball star turned in his cleats, bat and glove for skates and a hockey stick and has been working with the team since early in the season.
While early plans did not include actual game time, Franz approached the practice assignment with the same kind of dedication he has put into his baseball career, and when further injuries created gaps in the lineup Carvel put him in uniform for game action. His first official game was a home contest against arch-rival Clarkson in front of a standing-room only crowd at Appleton Arena. Game two was a rematch with Clarkson in front of the big crowd at Lake Placid in a non-league game.
While the Vermont game on Saturday may be his last in uniform as players are expected to return to the lineup after the holiday break, he has made the most of his opportunity.
“Carter is an exceptional athlete which has allowed him to step in and help our hockey program as we go through a transition period,” said Carvel, who is in his first official season as head coach. “We entered this season short on bodies and needed a few non-recruited players to help us in practice. Carter has been a pleasant surprise and a complete professional. He shows up every day focused and energized and gives us all he has.