Growing the Game – Part I: What We're Worth

Posted by Alyssa Gagliardi on May 17, 2016 11:00:00 AM

What We’re Worth

When I was eight years old, I had to create a timeline poster for a class project. I don’t remember the exact assignment, but looking back, it seems as though I had to highlight some important events throughout my young life; you know, casual things like being born, moving to a new city, starting to play hockey. One event even marked the year that I “met NHL players” Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux. (Kind of a big deal). 

Now, flash forward 16 years, I’m sitting in a room at Harvard’s Bright-Landry Rink getting asked the question:

Read More

Topics: Athlete Blogs

We’re All in the Same Boat

Posted by Dan Walsh on Mar 1, 2016 11:54:45 AM

“Don’t worry about an MBA, you’re graduating from the Teti School of Business.” Those were the words of teammate, mentor, leader in financial services, 3-time Olympian and multiple Rowing World Champion, but most importantly my friend, Jeff Klepacki.

Imagine an athlete and their teammates stepping in to the Olympic stadium. They stand confident, take a few deep breaths, and shake out their nerves. Thousands of people cheer while they are introduced, but their eyes never waiver from their goals, in our case, crossing the finish line first. When the gun goes off we’re on the move, determined, never looking back. One goal in mind.

Read More

Topics: Athlete Blogs

Breaking the Ice

Posted by Michelle Picard on Feb 23, 2016 12:48:01 PM

A couple of months ago, my DRIVN co-worker Pat Mullane wrote an inspiring blog post that really hit home for me. (If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it; it’s called, “What’s the rush?” ) In the post, he uncovered some of what is truly magical about playing college hockey.  Unfortunately for him, he played at my cross-town rival Boston College, but I guess I can eventually forgive him for that. Maybe. Currently, I’m a college senior at Harvard. And although we may have sported opposite sweaters, we can definitely relate to the pride that comes with wearing one.  Sadly, my days of wearing the Harvard Hockey jersey are dwindling. At most, I have eight games left. 

And so, I’m dangerously close to the end of the hardest, most amazing four years of my life.  With this inevitable end approaching, I can’t help but think about something that my coach, Katey Stone, has said numerous times during my time with the Crimson: “Leave the jersey better than you found it.”

Read More

Topics: Athlete Blogs

An ode to the NARPs (Non Athletic Regular People)

Posted by Mark Ventriglia on Feb 16, 2016 11:41:14 AM

I went on a hiatus from playing sports early in my youth. Not really what you wanted to read, right?

Back then, Black Flag’s 'Fix Me' and Slayer’s 'South of Heaven' took the place of running hockey plays in my head (thanks to my trusty Walkman), and that's all the room I decided I had. So, music became my passion and it was in that moment I realized being any kind of super-star athlete started and finished with youth hockey.

At that time, playing music was my forte and so that's just what I did; I played music. And come to find out I was actually pretty good at it, too. From my first tour a week after graduating high school, to playing in bands throughout college, music is what I wanted to do. Many years and countless gigs later, however, I sit here happy to report that although my passion still remains with writing fast riffs, I've found my way back on to the ice.

And I'm happier than ever.

Read More

Topics: Athlete Blogs

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Posted by Dave Spina on Feb 2, 2016 12:15:42 PM

Ok, here we go! My first blog. Ever. If I hadn’t just read Matt Lombardi’s recent piece about Father Tony Pena, who stressed the importance of focusing on one train of thought, I’m sure this post would be scattered and going in more directions than a GPS navigating through downtown Boston (thanks for nothing, Garmin).  But since I did read it (again and again), and since Father Tony just so happened to marry me and my wife, I am going to, once again, stick to his advice.

Thanks, Tony.  

I am currently in Turku, Finland playing in the top hockey league in the country. Right now, however, I’m sitting here typing this and simultaneously watching my 19-month old daughter play with Elsa and Anna figurines. Yes, she is also singing “Let it Go” (well, sort of). It’s more like a high pitched combination of those three words over and over and over.  I love it.  It’s my favorite part about days off; just to be able to be around and soak it all in.  I think back.  How did I get here? What guided me to this point?  How have I been fortunate enough to play this long, meet the people I’ve met, and have the experiences I’ve had?

Read More

Topics: Athlete Blogs

Lead from the Front

Posted by Matt Lombardi on Jan 26, 2016 10:57:50 AM

“We’re going to go with the same line-up as last night.”  That concluded a team meeting Saturday morning on a not so good start to a weekend series at Vermont.   It also answered my question of whether or not I would be playing.

Right after, a gentle hand patted me on the back.  I turned around to see Tony Penna.  It’s hard to explain who or what Tony is to our team. To the outside, he's the team chaplain.  However, if you're lucky enough to know him, you’d describe him as a close friend, mentor, sage, guru, and to young college hockey players, the wisest human being on the planet. 

“Let’s meet up later.”  

He said it very casually.  I was angry, frustrated, and confused about my situation— like any athlete would be — but his poise calmed me, and I said, “Okay.”

A couple teammates were smart enough to meet with Father Tony weekly.  In my first two years, I made the effort to see him, but not on a consistent schedule, so I hadn’t quite experienced the power of Tony -- yet.

Read More

Topics: Athlete Blogs

Life Outside the Painted Lines

Posted by Katherine Donnelly on Jan 19, 2016 11:28:45 AM

“The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking.”

Mia Hamm, my childhood idol, said this. She should know. She didn’t just say this, she lived it truly. Well, except the part of “nobody looking.”

About 13 years ago, I was at the Boston Breakers vs. Washington Freedom game with my Dad and there were about 8,000 soccer fans who had come to watch the incomparable Mia Hamm. When the final whistle blew I pulled my father down to the pitch side to stand in line for her autograph. After about 15 minutes of signing shirts, posters and pictures for fan‐frenzied 12‐year‐old girls, she was right in front of me. I was next!

That is, until someone from the Freedom staff tapped her on the shoulder and said “Last one ‐ time to go.” I watched my favorite player of all time hop into a cart and drive away, taking my dashed hopes for an autograph with her. Still enthralled, unable to take my eyes away from my idol, I saw the driver hand her a bag. What did she need a brown paper bag for?

Read More

Topics: Athlete Blogs

The Big Red Machine

Posted by Chris Heidelberger on Jan 12, 2016 11:05:35 AM

Long Before Title Nine there was a hero in my house.

My hero is seven years older, fiercely competitive, and hands down the best athlete in the family.  Meet my sister Lori. She was also a member of the Big Red Machine. I know what you’re thinking: what is the Big Red Machine? Let me try to explain… 

Read More

Topics: Team Chemistry, Athlete Blogs

New Year, New You?

Posted by Dan Walsh on Dec 31, 2015 11:30:00 AM


New Years Eve is always followed by the tradition of New Years resolutions, the magical day where everyone is going to strive to be a better person.  Gyms, fitness centers, yoga studios, and diet companies can’t wait for this day.  There are even memes dedicated to the event.

It happens every New Year. The lists being made, the goals set, and the resolutions firm. Dreaming up resolutions is the fun part, but actually following through after the initial New Year excitement wears off is the challenge.  How do I make sure my resolutions endure for longer than a few weeks? Do I really want to make a change? 

Can I?

Read More

Topics: Athlete Blogs

All I Want For Christmas is Waffles

Posted by Alyssa Gagliardi on Dec 17, 2015 11:13:53 AM

Or pancakes. Or both. Yeah, I went with both, but that was my big decision for one Christmas. That, and whether I was going to be playing left or right defense at my hockey tournament the next day. Those were the days; where breakfast for dinner was the biggest decision on my plate (pun intended).

As the holiday season approaches, I can’t help but think back to all the holiday tournaments we played in as kids. Every single Thanksgiving and Christmas our celebrations would be cut short as my brother and I would pack up our hockey bags into our parents’ car and travel to some tournament that year.

Every. Single. Year.

Read More

Topics: Athlete Blogs