Conor Helfrich

Conor Helfrich

Q: Where are you from?
A: North Andover, Massachusetts.

Q: What team do you play for?
A: I played hockey and lacrosse at Tufts University. After some injuries, both concussions and a hip surgery, I decided to just play lacrosse my sophomore, junior, and senior seasons.

Q: What was your major at Tufts? And why did you choose to pursue this field?
A: I majored in English with a minor in American Politics. I chose to major in English because it further developed my interpersonal and communication skills.

Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I am currently pursuing my MBA at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. Prior to business school, I worked in Corporate Real Estate in Boston for 5 years. After Business School, I will be joining my family’s business, Helfrich Brothers Boiler Works, which my family has owned since 1948. Helfrich Brothers is an industry leader in power generation services, and we employ over 400 people.

Q: Did you have to overcome any large obstacles or challenges to achieve your current career? Any advice for achieving your goals?
A: In the pursuit of any goal, there will be challenges along the way. The application process for business school was no different and I was proud to be accepted to a top 20 business school program.

Q: Any advice for achieving your goals?
A: Once you commit yourself to achieving something, just stay the course. I was waitlisted at my first choice for business school and thought about staying in real estate and giving up on business school entirely, but decided to work hard on another application and was ultimately accepted to UNC.

Q: Why did you choose to play hockey/lacrosse?
A: My parents got me involved in youth sports when I was young, and I just always loved playing both sports. My love for both sports, along with my pursuit of higher education, led me to decommit from a scholarship offer at the University of Delaware lacrosse program my junior year of high school and commit to Tufts because it gave me the opportunity to play both hockey and lacrosse while studying at a premier university.

Q: How did you get involved with the sports?
A: North Andover youth sports and then eventually club programs when I got older.

Q: How long have you been playing for?
A: I started playing when I was five, and since I’m still technically playing if you count beer leagues, it’s been over 23 years.

Q: Any fun facts about yourself or hockey/lacrosse?
A: You never know how things are going to work out. I committed to Tufts because I didn’t want to give up playing hockey, but due to injuries and the sustained success of the Tufts lacrosse program, I ended up choosing to play lacrosse because there were more opportunities to succeed at the national level. I have always found it beneficial to be open minded and provide yourself with optionality.

Q: What’s the biggest lesson you have taken from your sports careers that translate into everyday life?
A: Write down your goals, no matter how small or big, and work towards those goals every day. Goals could be to make your high school varsity team, make the honor roll, hit a certain sales threshold, or read a certain number of books per year. There is always room for improvement, and having your goals written down serves as a constant reminder of what you are working towards. My lacrosse coach at Tufts made us display our goals on our lockers so the entire team could see them. That way, if you weren’t working towards those goals, your teammates knew it and could hold you accountable.

Q: Why do you enjoy hockey and lacrosse?
A: I enjoy hockey and lacrosse because they are both fast paced, physical, and require teamwork to accomplish goals.

Q: Do you enjoy playing one more than the other?
A: I have been asked this question a lot over the years and my answer remains the same – I always enjoyed hockey more, but I was always better at lacrosse.

Q: Do you have any career highlights, accomplishments, or favorite memories?
A: My favorite moments of my athletic career have been winning the New England Championship in hockey at Lawrence Academy my senior year of high school, and winning back-to-back National Championships in lacrosse at Tufts. I was honored to be named a 3x All-American at Tufts and selected as the MVP of the National Championship in 2015, and to be one of two Tufts lacrosse players to ever be drafted in the Major League Lacrosse collegiate draft.

Q: What's your connection with TSR? Any fun memories? 
A: My father grew up in North Andover and has known Brendan Sheehy for a long time. I remember going to his store, when it was just a little spot in Andover, to then driving to New Hampshire to the larger headquarters, just to see Brendan. Brendan and his wife Liane are the best. I remember my parents were going away for the weekend, and Brendan and Leanne were mine and my three brothers’ babysitters for the weekend. I always thought Brendan was the coolest babysitter because he shot pucks with us in our basement for hours, didn’t give us a bedtime, and drove us to school blasting music in his car with his new sound system. My older brother, Patrick, worked at TSR and founded the lacrosse division. My family’s roots run deep with Brendan and TSR and we will always be supportive of the company and the commitment they have to athletes in the area.

Q: Any advice for younger athletes or those who want to start playing hockey or lacrosse?
A: Since graduating from Tufts, I have volunteered as a coach for five years for both high school and collegiate lacrosse programs. I have always encouraged younger athletes to play multiple sports. Nowadays, young kids become too specialized in one sport, and I do not think it helps their development as an overall athlete. Most importantly, work hard in the classroom because it will provide you with more opportunities than you know, whether you play a sport or not. In terms of playing sports – work hard, and most importantly, have fun doing it because at some point, you will have to stop playing and you will miss it.