The Couple That Tends Goal Together, Stays Together: Meet The Scrivens Family
"Jen creeped me. And I creeped her ... slightly."
Goalie Ben Scrivens, the former starter for the Edmonton Oilers, is describing how he met his wife, Jenny, when both were freshman hockey players at Cornell University.
"The year we got there, 2006, was the first or second year that Facebook was open to non-Harvard kids," Ben says. "Once we got our Cornell.edu emails we could get accounts and it was heavy creep time. It was before privacy settings and all that. I friended all Canadians and there was a girl that played on the hockey team that was from Vancouver. We were Facebook chatting or whatever before school started."
"When I got to campus, an upper-classman was driving us around and we saw Jen and her twin sister, Megan, walking. He said 'Those two blonde girls, those twins, are on the women's team.' Later I saw them eating at the dining hall and I still hadn't connected with the Canadian girl. So I went up to them knowing they're on the hockey team, like, 'I'm Facebook friends with Mel. Do you happen to have her new American cellphone number?' I don't know what she heard, but Jen ended up giving me her number instead of Mel's."
"I had selective hearing, I guess," laughs Jenny.
The two goaltenders, who both wore No. 30 for the Big Red, began dating and haven't been apart since. They were married in Canmore, Alberta, in the summer of 2012.
"Neither of us is ballsy enough to end it," jokes Ben. "It's just a stalemate!"
Ben, 29, signed with the Maple Leafs out of college, starting an NHL adventure that has taken the couple from Toronto to Los Angeles to Edmonton over the last five years. Jenny has followed Ben to each city, finding gigs in public relations and communications at each stop.
That is until this summer, when Jenny, 27, was the one packing her bags for a professional hockey contract. She was offered a spot in net for the New York Riveters, one of four teams in the new National Women's Hockey League, which debuted in early October. Jen also serves on the PR and communications team for the NWHL.
"It's kind of fun for me to be able to work with players -- not just with the Riveters, but all over the league," Jenny says. "Making sure these athletes have ways to express themselves and get noticed for the things that they do."
Jenny signed with the Riveters late in the summer, giving her just a few months to get back into competitive playing shape after spending five years on the sidelines.
"It's been a quick learning curve," she says. "I never really left the game. I stopped playing, but I've been coaching girls and watching Ben play 82 games a year. So my knowledge of the game has grown more. My ability to play stopped quite a bit but I think watching and coaching helped me grasp the game a lot more."
"She never really let herself go," jokes Ben. "But she didn't sign until July or August so the majority of the summer was status quo and then after that it was finding ice, figuring out gear and stuff."
"We try not to spend our entire dinner conversations talking about hockey," Jenny says. "But for the few weeks we had together in Edmonton before I moved, we talked a fair bit about hockey and it was nice for me to able to ask him for pointers. To have his perspective is really beneficial."
A few tips here and there was about it, though, as Ben preferred to leave Jenny's lessons up to the pros. Pro coaches, that is.
"I'm fortunate that I'm well-connected within the goaltending community," Ben says. "So putting her with someone who is a good coach and knows what they're talking about is far more beneficial than me doing it."
"He came to a few of my lessons. I'm sure it may have been intimidating for my coach," Jenny says, laughing.
Jenny is based out of Brooklyn and Ben, who recently cleared waivers, is now assigned to the Oilers' AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, California, so the couple will be spending a lot of time apart this winter. Ben's carefully calculated plan to see his wife?
But both agree that a few months spent thousands of miles apart is worth it for the chance to live out their dreams. And, of course, the bragging rights they're earning for a future generation of Scrivens goaltenders.
"Something that you tell the kids later on," Ben says. "We're both playing, which means they can't question either of us when we tell them what to do. Ever."