Frozen Four nickname game: When Alberta Beef met Bonesaw


ASN-Frozen-Four-Coverage-Logo-Clyde, Goose, Alberta Beef, Bonesaw.

You’ve been watching them play hockey all season, now they’re all in the Frozen Four.

What? Never heard of them?

Sure you have, but maybe outside their locker rooms they’re better know as Tom “Bonesaw” Hilbrich of Quinnipiac, Scott “Clyde” Savage of Boston College, Matt “Alberta Beef” Marcinew of Denver and Gage “Goose” Ausmus of North Dakota.

What’s in a nickname?

Sometimes it’s a right of passage, bequeathed by teammates or coaches to reflect a moment, look or attitude. Think of them as weird terms of endearment because, well, there aren’t a lot of touchy-feely moments that happen in locker rooms or on the ice.

Take “Bonesaw” Hilbrich, for example.



Tom Hilbrich | Quinnipiac

The 6-6, 230-pound senior defenseman has played in only three games in his career — all this season.

But he gained the colorful moniker from his teammates “because he uses his stick like a weapon in practice,” Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig said.


Scott Savage | Boston College 

Even Boston College coach Jerry York, the only coach in the history of college hockey to have 1,000 wins behind the bench, isn’t above getting into the nickname game.

He christened the junior defenseman “Clyde” because of Savage’s cat.

At the start of each season York has all the players get up and talk about themselves in front of the team. When Savage was a freshman, York decided to ask him questions about his home, family, etc., and if he had any pets.

“Yeah, a cat.”

“Does the cat have a name?”

“Yeah, his name’s Clyde.

York loved it and still asks about Clyde to this day. Savage’s teammates took it a new level and now refer to Scott simply as Clyde.

ASN-Matt-Marcinew-Denver-Alberta BeefALBERTA BEEF

Matt Marcinew | Denver | Forward

The junior’s “Alberta Beef” moniker was thrust upon him by teammate Will Butcher because of Marcinew’s body: He has the lowest percentage of body fat on the team.

Think Canadian beefcake: An ode to being chiseled.


Greg Ausmus | North Dakota

Many would think the juniors’ “Goose” nickname would come from being a great wingman to linemate Troy Stecher, who loves to carry the puck up ice while Ausmus is more of a stay-at-home guy.

Or, maybe because the 6-2, 220-pound defenseman looks like an outdoorsman who likes to hunt.


It’s Goose, as in Mother Goose.

Like most teams, UND has video profiles throughout the season on players and other topics. In “Through These Doors – 502 – Mother Goose” Ausmus’s teammates and coaches chimed in on how they believe he got the nickname, from everything that he looks like a Mother Goose, to how he tells stories like a Mother Goose to how he acts like one as a team captain.

The reality is it carried over from his playing days with the U.S. National Team Development Program (NTDP) where he was a teammate of current UND teammate Keaton Thompson.

“My Twitter profile was @GAusmus47 and Tyler Keller, now at University of New Hampshire, called me Goose Gausmus randomly,” Ausmus said. “And obviously Keaton came back here with me and was calling me Goose and the guys picked up on it.”

Dave Dondoneau

Dave Dondoneau is a freelance writer based in Honolulu. Follow him on Twitter @DakotaHI.