Recruited from Finland to play hockey for the Corsairs
Management major Jerry Laakso '18 was recruited from Finland to play hockey for the Corsairs.
A captain, Jerry played in all 28 games in the 2017-2018 season. He produced career-highs in goals (7), assists (27), and points (34) to rank fourth among Division III defensemen. Jerry has garnered national recognition, having been named to NCAA Division III's Team of the Week for his performance on the ice.
The three-time All-MASCAC honoree is fourth on the UMass Dartmouth single-season list for points by a defenseman. He is also highly ranked in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference for assist scoring and defenseman scoring.
Jerry registered at least one point in 19 games, including 8 multi-point contests. He recorded a career-high six points, on two goals and four assists, in the win over Franklin Pierce. Jerry also dished out four helpers and added a marker at Stonehill. He scored the game-winning goal three times on the campaign, including against nationally-ranked opponents UMass Boston and Plymouth State. He was selected to the D3Hockey.com Team of the Week in December 2017.
In 107 career games, Jerry is ranked second on the defensemen all-time scoring list with 91 points, on 17 goals and 74 assists. The Tampere, Finland native was named to the 2017 New England Hockey Writers' Association Division II/III All-Star team. He also represented the Corsairs on the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Winter All-Academic team over the past two years.
"My experience playing for the Corsairs has been great," Jerry said. "Mixing your education and sports isn't really possible in Finland. UMass Dartmouth offered the major and the minor I wanted. Entrepreneurship has always interested me.
"In addition to hockey, UMassD and the Charlton College of Business have given me a world-class education that will, without a doubt, be of great benefit to my career after hockey."
Initially recruited to play hockey professionally for the ECHL, the AA affiliate of the NHL, Jerry plans to return home to Finland to play for Ilves in the Finnish Tier 1 professional league, the Liiga.
"It has always been my dream to play professional hockey and now I've been presented with the opportunity," he said. "Playing for UMass Dartmouth has been a great steppingstone in my hockey career."
When asked what's been most rewarding or surprising about his experience as an international student, Jerry said, "Tough question. I've had a lot of surprising and rewarding experiences here. If I had to give one answer it would probably be the social scene here. It's really easy to meet new people here because everyone's on campus. That's been both rewarding and surprising."