Castleton Euro Trip 2012 Awards

I know that I was not online as much as I had planned. The combination of a lot of great sights, and a computer that went haywire on the third day limited my ability to share my thoughts.  Now that we are home I wanted to post one last thought about an amazing trip, an amazing group, and three amazing countries.  I cannot tell you how proud I am of the 29 young Spartans that came with me on the trip; their willingness and eagerness to see new people, places and things is inspiring.  Their fearless nature in exploring areas and cultures that were previously unknown, reinforces the notion that the world is shrinking!

With the exception of my sensitive computer and the customs agents who delayed us 2 hours in Boston upon our arrival back in the states, this was a perfect trip.  I could go on and on about each individual that was on the trip and I should.  To try to have a little fun and keep things brief I am going to hand out awards.  Why awards?  Everyone who gets nominated for the Oscar, Grammy, Vezina, Richard, Clancy, Lady Bing etc….. is deserving and to just be nominated is an award in itself.  Everyone on this trip is nominated as they all contributed daily to an amazing experience for everyone but in a few instances some people really stepped up and I will present them with a special acknowledgement.

Best Travel Partners = This award goes to the few on the trip that were not students.

Winner is…… A tie between the Varneys, Krieslers, Van Dykes and Herzogs.

Not only did these families get along well with each other they were ultra positive and encouraging on every part of the trip, and supported the players in all of their explorations.  Having extra passengers is always worrisome, however when those extra passengers become messengers of support then they become the best ally that any trip could have.

Best Dressed on Trip = Who looked good everyday, representing the school appropriately by their appearance alone.

Winner = Assistant Coach Terry Moran

You would think getting Terry Moran away from his wife and wardrobe for a week would throw him out of his comfort zone, but Terry was put together and impressive at every stop.  A special acknowledgment needs to go out to Nick Lazorko who made a late push with purchase of stylish European cut blue pants, however it was too little, too late.

Super Explorer Award = Award to those who used every waking minute to explore Europe.

Winners = Brian Green and Thomas Shelley.

Everyone was out exploring the different villages and towns that we were in. However, I would wake up and look out my window and see Thomas and Brian, out the door on a mission to see something new, and always seemed to have a place to see and plan to get there.  I know everyone enjoyed the trip, but I doubt anyone saw as much as Thomas and Brian.

Super Sacrifice Award = Person who gave up something to help make the trip a success.

Winner = Brett Zeggil

Brett’s involvement with this trip is maybe second only to my own.  Brett planned, organized, and fund-raised everyday for close to a year to make this trip a possibility.  However, when a family situation arose, he did not hesitate and was on a plane back to Toronto before we even left for Zurich.  His decisive nature and continued generosity of his time and energy makes him a role model, and a leader.

Internet Excellence Award = The person or persons who took to the internet most often to keep friends and family abreast of all that we were doing in Europe.

Winner = Sean Bianchini

Sean, even without our laptop was able, through his smart phone, send all of the posts that filled everyone in.  He spent at least one hour every night for the entire trip, no matter how late or how tired he was, online updating all of our Spartan friends, family and fans.  He was a trooper and very deserving of this award.

Best Country = Of the three which one did I like best?

Winner = Austria

Nicer people, better food and much more affordable than Switzerland. I highly recommend a trip to Austria any chance that you get.

Coach with the Most Patience  

Winner  = Hannah Corkery the Castleton Women’s Lacrosse Graduate Assistant.

Hannah volunteered to drive down to Logan Airport in Boston to pick up the smelly hockey gear ,so that there was enough room on the bus for the team.  That job by itself is tough enough, add to it a 2 hour delay at customs, and she is not home until 2:30 am.  A huge thank you from the entire team to Hannah and her patience.

Senior Leadership Award = For any team be successful there has to be  a senior who steps up in his last year to make a positive difference with his team.

Winner = Justin Alonzo

Once Brett made the decision to go home to be with his family, I was very nervous about how our team would respond to the loss of a good leader.  Before they had a chance to realize that Brett was gone Justin asserted himself as an extremely hard working, lead by example, positive player that kept the focus of the trip always on the right thing.

Best Breakfast and Hotel 

Winner = Hotel Christophours 

Christoph and his family live in and run the Hotel Christophours in Kitzpuhl. It may be the nicest hotel that I have ever stayed in, and having Christoph and is family up every morning making us breakfast, was amazing!!  Our last game was in Kitzbuhl and it was also Christoph’s birthday; he was in attendance and I think was just as fond of our team as we were of him, his family and his hotel.

All Swedish and No Finnish = Awarded to the player that who looked great on the ice yet had few to zero points to show for it.

Winner = Charlie Bando

Though Josh Harris made a late push in our last game in Kitzpuhl, the award was won in Zell Am See when Charlie Bando in full possession of the puck inside the blue line had wide open net as the Zell Am See goalie was mistakenly going to the bench on a delayed penalty.  However, Charlie missed the net, and though Charlie worked hard all week and looked great on the ice his inability to hit the empty net brings him this award.

Wayne / Mario Award = Awarded to the player who created the most offense during the trip.

Winner = Dan Bell

Dan Bell had a break out season  last year and this trip was no different, Dan was a difference maker every time he was on the ice especially when he had the puck.  Lets all hope that Dan can play like he did in Europe for the entire season here as well.

I have ability to plan this trip once every 4 years, and after this trip with this group I would be willing to do it every year.  I hope that this post and the ones prior to this show a little bit of the amazing experience we all had in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Thanks for all of your support and we look forward to seeing all of you at Spartan Arena soon.


Castleton 4 Feldkirch 2

In the Castleton Men’s Hockey team’s first action of the year, they came out sloppy and slow.  It really looked as though they had never played together, and the experienced pros of Feldkirch kept them off balance for the first 20 minutes of the game. At the end of the period the Spartans found themselves down by 1 goal.

The second period however, was a very different story. The Spartan men found a new level of energy and attacked the middle of the ice with a passion that was lacking in the first period.  Though we gave up a power play goal and were down 2 – 0 that was the last point that Feldkirch had any real control of the game.  The very next shift, Dan Bell (Sr. Victoria, BC), Josh Harris (Sr. Torrance, CA) and Justin Alonzo (Sr. San Jose, CA) showed great senior leadership by responding to a goal against with a goal for the Spartans.  All 3 players touched the puck in and around the net and had numerous chances before Dan Bell finally placed the puck in the top left corner over the goalie’s blocker getting the score to 2-1.

The Spartans carried the play for the next several minutes getting excellent chances shift after shift, Senior Ben Schoeneberger (Vernon, CT), Freshmen Charlie Bando (Wakefield, MA) and Junior Ross Herzog (Wainwright, AB) really led the way by attacking the front of Feldkirch net. It was crafty play by Sophomore Ryan Frost (Corona, CA) using his speed and a timely poke check to create a short breakaway coming off of the right wall and was able to beat the Feldkirch goalie to the stick side to tie the game at 2.

Coming out the in the third period the speed and energy of the Spartan men started taking its toll on the Pros from Feldkirch.  Reid Lesswing (Jr. Amherst, NY), Derek Gingera (Fr. Winnipeg, MB), and Junior Kyle Pichler (Anchorage, AK) lead the charge with a few big hits that really slowed Feldkirch down.  Once Castleton was able to establish puck possession, numerous chances arose. It was the wiley veteran Ross Herzog who got the puck at the side of the net on a nice pass from Ben Schoeneberger and paused, allowing Junior Kyle Richards (Halifax, NS) to jump back to the front of the net and distract both the goalie and Defender just long enough for Ross to step out and roof a beauty.

The game continued at very high pace and was finally put away with about 5 mins left in the period when Junior defenseman, turned forward, Ben Roberts (St. Albans, VT) scored his first ever goal in a Spartans uniform, after a Mike Restuccia (Fr. Malden, MA) shot gave him a rebound the put in the top corner.

Thomas Shelley was in the net for the whole game recording 25 saves on 27 shots, and Feldkirch split the game between their 2 goalies recording a total of 45 saves between the 2 of them.

The Spartans are back on the ice tomorrow against Kufstein for a 6:30 game.


What a great event Tuesay night!  The Iron Lantern hosted the Castleton Men’s Hockey team in the “First Annual Soiree.”  With the best bartender in the state, Castleton President Dave Wolk! As well as the best live music, that was provided by Professor Robert Wuagneux. The Iron Lantern volunteered their facility and cooking skills, the result was that everywhere you turned you encountered a friendly face offering great food, drink, and music!  The men’s hockey team provided the service and eagerly shared their excitement for the upcoming trip to Austria.

Seeing all of the excitement from our players, friends, family, and fans my excitement has now peaked and the anticipation is killing me.  I cannot wait to expose Austria to this team and I cannot wait to see Austria’s reaction to this group of Spartans.  However, I am very excited to get back and share all of the experiences that we are about to have with the wonderful, friends, family, and fans that helped make last night such a success.

With a huge thanks to the Iron Lantern, President Wolk, Professor Wuagneux, and every single person that stopped in to support the team, and wish us well on our trip, I thank you and hope to share as much of this trip as possible with you while abroad.