-Introductory Speech I gave two weeks ago about being a student manager and my brief career in hockey so far. A lead up for my next post about my brother, who I lived through and cheered on from his first game to his last.
Everyone has a passion, whether it’s through a skill, a hobby or an activity that just brings you and your closest friends together. My passion is hockey. This passion has grown within me ever since I was 4. I received my first pair of skates than. I played my first competitive game at the age of 6, and my last competitive game at the age of 12. I was forced to give up the game I so much loved because of my lack of size, not heart. That didn’t stop me though, in fact that motivated me to find other ways to give back to the game of hockey. I began by trying to officiate games, until I found out that stripes make you look fat. I would run the clock, fill out the score sheet, help organize tournaments, teach young ones to skate and educate them on the game of hockey for hours upon hours every weekend at the local rinks in Manchester. My passion seemed to bleed the most though when I was in high school and was more than just a “manager” and captain for a team that made it its farthest its ever been for the first time in 20 years.
I was given the opportunity to work under Coach Umile through a family friend who is also good friends with Coach. I was welcomed with arms wide open to a team, that I followed and was a season ticket holder for 10 years. At first I was star struck and just amazed at how much of a difference high school hockey and division 1 college hockey was. The talent these kids have and the pressure they are put under ever weekend is unbelievable. The part though that shocked me the most, was how genuine these athletes are. These celebrities throughout campus have become family to me, and our friendships will last a lot longer than any one of their hockey careers. Practice for me from an outsiders view consist of setting up the bench, taping sticks, cleaning the locker room, organizing game film, making sure the players have the right equipment, and sharpening skates. To me practice is beyond all of that, it’s a time to connect with my friends in a way that brings out their best. We practice as if it were a game. We play our games as if it was playoffs; we play the playoffs for a National Title.
I treat game days like if I was playing. Pregame skate is at 11 which I participate in. Pregame meal is at 2, arrive at the rink by 5. Ipod in almost all day, as I put on my suit and walk on over from the Gables to the rink. I stack the pucks, p lace the backup sticks on the bench, and in between go in and out of the locker room shouting words of motivation and pump up to get the team ready. It’s time for the boys to take the ice, as for me I’m waiting for them a step or two before giving pounds and slaps as it’s time to finally face this weekend’s test. It’s a typical night when Thompson scores, an unusual night if we get out worked and a great night if we come away from the weekend with 4 points.
I would do anything for a team that I would so much love to play for. I will never be at the end of the night an ARMY ROTC top 3 star, but I would like to think to my teammates that I am a factor in our success. In conclusion, the past 10 seasons of my hockey career, I have no assists, no shots on goal, and no penalty minutes, but I do have one goal, to impact the game of hockey in a way it’s never been impacted before.