Though he’ll never admit it, it’s an honor that’s long, long overdue.
The call — or rather, the tweet — finally came for Bobby Acropolis on Sept. 26, when word spread around the Shore Conference hockey community that the Brick Township legend had finally been inducted into the New Jersey High School Hockey Hall of Fame in the Class of 2018.
While this hockey scribe was taken aback to learn had not already been enshrined, the ever humble Acropolis voiced his astonishment at the honor.
“I actually saw the post come through on Twitter first, and as I’m reading it, the call came through. It was really unexpected, and it hasn’t actually set in yet. I’m just very shocked and surprised and honored,” said Acropolis, who will officially be inducted on April 15, 2018 during a noon-time ceremony at Mayfair Farms in West Orange.
“I didn’t see this coming, and it’s an incredible honor, but I think the best part of it is the texts that I’ve gotten that have allowed me to reconnect with old friends, and the great memories this has stirred up,” Acropolis added.
One of New Jersey’s All-Time Greats
Acropolis capped his scholastic career as the 11th leading scorer in New Jersey state history, registering 265 career points on 131 goals and 134 assists.
A three-time All-State selection, Acropolis and his Dragons cemented their legendary status in 1997, when the Dragons went on to blank Seton Hall Prep in the state finals, taking a 4-0 decision from the Pirates to become the last public school program to capture an overall NJSIAA Championship.
“I’ll never forget being part of that team my freshman year,” Acropolis said. “And it’s moments like that, the team successes that are still vivid in my mind. Hockey is a team sport. And I really don’t remember a lot of my goals, or the assists, because it was never about that. It was about working hard and having fun with my friends,” Acropolis said.
“What I remember most is what we did collectively. I wouldn’t have my points without the great guys around me. We had fantastic defensemen and goaltending, very talented guys up front, and great coaching. I was just a piece of it.”
A Combination of Toughness & Skill
One of the most skilled players in the state from 1997-2000, Acropolis was also one of the toughest — both mentally and physically — as he skated the majority of his games with a soft cast aiding a broken wrist, one that would ultimately be operated upon three separate times during his days in the green and white.
Acropolis was certainly worthy of being shown in the limelight then, and even more so now as a 2018 Hall of Fame inductee…though he still doesn’t feel comfortable about it.
“People liked to put the spotlight on me back then, and I never really enjoyed it. I was never one to look for the spotlight. So it’s a little funny to have it back on me now,” said Acropolis, who went on to play at the NCAA level with Quinnipiac University. “The high school hockey landscape is so much different now than it was then. We were public school guys playing in the Gordon Conference, competing against all the top private schools. We had some great battles against some great players, and it feels wonderful to have all those memories rushing back.”
Acropolis Sits Atop an Impressive 2018 Class
When Acropolis officially takes his place in the New Jersey High School Hockey Hal of Fame in April, he’ll be accompanied by some very notable names.
Also being inducted in this fifth class of skaters — the Hall of Fame was founded in 2009 and has inducted a new class every two years starting in 2010 — is a pair of NHL caliber talents in Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames) and Kenny Agostino (Boston Bruins).
Gaudreau skated for two seasons with Gloucester Catholic, posting 108 points from 2009 through 2010, while lifting the Rams to the NJSIAA Private State Finals in 2010…In that game, Gaudreau and his club were outdone by Agostino and Delbarton.
— Chris Rotolo (@rote7123) September 27, 2017
Agostino had a prolific run with the Green Wave, finishing his career as Delbarton’s all-time leading point producer with 261, including a senior campaign in 2009-10 in which he scored 50 goals to go with 33 assists. In his four seasons with the Morristown program, Agostino led the club to an overall record of 103-7-5 — a winning-percentage of .917 — with three consecutive Non-Public State Championships (2008, 2009, 2010), four Gordon Conference Championships and two Gordon Cup trophies. Agostino was also a named New Jersey Player of the Year twice.
Randolph alum Dan Pencinger — who logged 176 career points — and his 2003 NJSIAA Public State Championship-winning Rams team will also be inducted, as will the 2007 St. Augustine team, which went undefeated at 23-0-0, capturing the Handchen Cup and the Non-Public title in the process. This St. Augustine club still stands as the only unbeaten and untied program in New Jersey history.