As a college student on Long Island, I work hard to keep a balance between the major aspects of my life: school, family, friends, work, internships, and hockey (in no particular order!). Luckily for me, some of these important parts of my life have gone hand-in-hand.
Hockey is a bonding force that brings my family together. No matter the circumstances, if a game is on we will be crowded around the TV in our basement from puck drop until the last buzzer. It’s a constant in our lives that we love to connect over even as other aspects of our lives have changed over the years.
The sport was introduced to my sisters and I through our father, an avid and lifelong fan of the New York Rangers and a hockey player himself. I’ll always remember going to the ice rink and watching him play with his team during the year we spent living in a suburb outside of Albany, New York. One of my family’s favorite things to do in the winter while we lived upstate was to go ice-skating on a frozen pond in our town. My father – of course – used this time to practice his hockey and take a shot at teaching us a thing or two about the game. It’s hard to beat the feeling that knocking around a hockey puck in the outdoor elements on a cold winter night gave me all those years ago with my dad coaching me through it.
When I was younger, the best way to get permission to stay up late on a school night was to watch a hockey game with my Dad. Somewhere along the way, I found myself watching hockey because I came to love the sport just as much as my father (and not just because I wanted an excuse to stay up late!). Admittedly, the Rangers were quite awful in the early 2000s, but my father didn’t seem to care as long as it was time that we spent enjoying something together. It was on these nights staying up after my bedtime that a love of hockey was truly forged within me and has only continued to grow since.
Now, hockey is something that the entirety of my family connects on as we can talk about it to no end. Some of my fondest memories from the past few years involve watching nail-biter playoff games with a large crowd at my house or taking crazy road trips to away games with my family.
I had an incredibly fun time as an intern for the length of the New York Islanders’ past 2014-2015 season, which was the team’s last at the Nassau Coliseum before the organization’s move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Working with the Community Relations department, I was able to be a part of making a difference in the lives of the youth in the surrounding communities on Long Island through countless outreach programs. It was a truly rewarding experience to see a sports organization acting as a role model in the community while creating opportunities for children to play and become a fan of the sport of hockey.
In this way, hockey transcends beyond the game. Hockey represents unity, tradition, passion and most of all family. Sports have the power to bring together people from all walks of life and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Whether it is playing, attending a game or watching on TV, hockey is rooted in the values of teamwork and creating a shared experience.
I have a passion for the sport of hockey that I try to instill in other people and expand the love of the game. I hope hockey can be as meaningful in your life as it has been in mine!