RIT Brick City Homecoming is over, and while the hockey loss to Penn State was a disappointment, it was great to catch up with old friends. It reminded me that my senior year at RIT (1998-1999) was a crossroads in my life. It was the year in my hockey life when I decided that it was more about the people, the friendships, and the relationships than it was about hockey.
I transferred to RIT with the intention of winning a national championship. We all thought that we would accomplish that goal considering the team we put on the ice. We went out to Division I Nebraska Omaha and beat them twice in their arena. We began the season 13-0 and only lost three times that season and made it to the Frozen Four. However, it was about the people, the friendships and the camaraderie.
Having the opportunity to see guys like Brian Wenzel, who I grew up playing youth hockey with was fun. We played travel hockey together when we were 6 years old. We had the chance to reminisce about those teams. When we were 6 years old we had an incredible team and traveled to Canada virtually every weekend. We were 79-3 and I am not exaggerating, we actually played 82 hockey games at age 6. When I look back on that number I remember how much hockey was a part of our lives. Players on that team ended up playing high level college hockey and professional hockey after that, even in the NHL. This is the type of stuff that has defined us as people for our whole lives.
The current RIT hockey players will look back one day and have some of the same feelings when their hockey days have passed them by. These experiences will build life skills like character, teamwork and coachability. It will help them to understand what hard work and persistence means and they will utilize these skills in their careers. These experiences will help shape their persona and will prepare them for the grind of life. This is what sports are all about. It is not always about winning or losing. This weekend really helped me to remember that once again. These experiences are building a foundation for these young student athletes which will help them to be successful in their lives.
I completely missed on my prediction last weekend. I thought RIT would handle Penn State easily but that is not how it went. And you know what, that is the game of hockey. Hockey is a true example of this life. Whoever wants it more in this life and is willing to work harder, most of the time they will succeed.
The Tigers will play a Thursday night game at The Ritter against Robert Morris to open the weekend. Then RIT travels to Colgate this weekend to play in Starr Rink. I played there during my RPI hockey days. Going from Lynah Rink at Cornell to Starr Rink at Colgate was torture. You go from an incredible college hockey atmosphere in Lynah Rink to a complete dead crowd at Starr Rink. It is really hard to play at Colgate because the atmosphere is a huge disappointment. The rink holds about 2,600 but it only sells out for Cornell games. There will be about 750 people there if I was to guess, and I am being kind with that number.
Last Week’s Prediction Record: 0-1
This Week’s Prediction:
RIT beats Robert Morris 4-1
Colgate beats RIT 4-2
Season Prediction Record: 0-1