NCDC Alumni Profiles: AIC’s Brett Callahan

Yellow Jackets’ Co-Captain Earned Top AIC Male Athlete, Academic All-American Awards To Close Career


By Joshua Boyd / 


It was a year that just about any graduating college senior could ever ask for. Brett Callahan’s final season with American International College gave him so many positives on which to reflect as he pushes forward into his post-collegiate future. 

Callahan, a former Jersey Hitmen two-year NCDC player and Captain, once again wore a “C” on his chest in 2023-24 for the AIC Yellow Jackets. It wasn’t the only honor bestowed upon Callahan this past year. He also was named AIC’s top male student-athlete over a four-year period, winning this year’s F.J. Maloney Award at the Springfield, Mass.-based university. 

Additional honors included the AIC Hockey Strength and Conditioning Award, as well as Atlantic Hockey America All-Academic and Academic All-American honors. Callahan graduated from AIC in the spring with a double major in Economics and Finance. 

“Getting to play for AIC in the first place was in itself a great reward. As a freshman, I didn’t have any expectations going in to get awards and honors, I was just honored to have the opportunity to play there. Getting to know the other players and the coaches, and winning three championships while I was here, all those are highlights I’ll take with me forever,” said Callahan, a 1998-born native of Westmont, Ill. 

“Academically speaking, our Head Coach Eric Lang always stressed that it was just as important to be successful in the classroom as it is to be successful on the ice, and that course work always came first,” said Callahan. “It is a lot of work. We have a very busy practice schedule and games on the weekends. Sometimes you might feel tired or lazy and don’t want to do things, but you have to keep in mind the ultimate goal and the team. If you want everything to be successful, that starts with taking care of business in the classroom.”

With that firmly in place judging by the multiple academic honors Callahan received following the 2023-24 season, we turn to his actions on the ice and in the gym that also netted him AIC team honors – the Strength and Conditioning Award and the Frank J. Maloney Award. 

“We had a good strength and conditioning coach in Michael Dance. You have a set amount of lifts you have to do every week, and only a certain time to do it. It’s all about perspective – you don’t have all the time in the world in the gym, it’s important to get the work done to set yourself up for success when you get on the ice,” Callahan said. 

“The Frank J. Maloney Award – it’s crazy how big of an honor that is. What Coach Lang always ingrained in our culture is doing things the right way, so I didn’t put any thought into that award, I just always tried to do things the right way, and that paid off,” said Callahan. “Now that I look back on it, it means the world to me, but when everything is happening, you’re just trying to do things the best you can at all times.” 


Learning The Jersey Hitmen Way

Callahan spent two seasons with the Jersey Hitmen, from the inaugural 2017-18 NCDC campaign to the end of the 2018-19 season, skating a total of 106 games and racking up 73 points from the blue line. 

“[Coaches] Toby Harris and Jim Hunt were absolutely incredible for me with the Hitmen. Being from Chicago, I was used to midwest hockey, so moving to play on the East Coast for the Hitmen was a big jump for me. I put a lot of trust in them and it really paid off,” said Callahan. “They helped mold me into a leader. They taught me integrity, being selfless and being a team player. That molded me a lot into what I am today, as far as hockey goes. You know the history of the Hitmen program and it’s no wonder they move so many kids on. I wouldn’t have gone to AIC if not for the Hitmen. I loved my time there, and I will always tell the story of my time in the Hitmen.” 

Being a Captain at the NCDC level also pushed him to become a leader who “does things the right way” during his time at AIC, and it propelled him to eventually wearing the “C” with the Yellow Jackets. 

“When you come in as a freshman, you kind of see the culture that was built and how everyone got along. You want to fit into that and be a good teammates,” said Callahan. “I learned from the guys ahead of me, and it was a great leadership group all the time. One of the biggest honors I could have received was being one of the leaders on the team this past year. I loved the group that I was a part of this year, and I’ll always keep an eye on how AIC is doing, just being a part of the team and other leaders.” 

Callahan is planning to move on to the financial world, but is certainly not planning to hang up his skates. He’ll be on the ice regularly as part of a mentoring/coaching program this summer. 

“I am really looking forward to getting right back out on the ice and working with younger players, being able to pass on what I was taught by so many great coaches along the way,” he added. 

The NCDC congratulates Brett Callahan on a fantastic season and career at American International College!