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.


End is only the beginning

What a great last couple of days we had in Europe. Yesterday we spent time in Innsbruck while on our way to Zurich Switzerland.

We spent the better part of last night and this afternoon in Zurich. It is a beautiful city but to rich for my blood. I read somewhere that the Main Street is the third most expensive street in the world! Crazy.

I have to reiterate how amazing this trip was and what a great beginning to our year it has been. Thank you to all those who supported us, donated, and helped fundraiser with the guys. They all really appreciate and each has their own experience and stories to share with you all.

We are headed to the airport now for our long flight home. Sleep is going to be the priority of most in the following days.

Focus on details and success will follow

Today I spent a lot of time thinking and paying attention to the details that i see are the only things that sets us apart from Europe.

When I imagined coming to Europe, I thought of a place that would be completely different from home. A place where the cars, houses, and people would be the biggest differences. However as I spent the week here I noticed that it isn’t really the cars, houses, and people that are the biggest differences, it is the little details that the European culture pays so much attention to.

Keep in mind that the European culture has been around for so many more years than North American culture and I feel that has a big influence on my opinion. Anyways lets get on to the details that may sound irrelevant but when you notice them they strike you frequently.

The first thing I noticed were the bus seats. Not only do they recline they also slide out in to the isle to give more room to your seat mate. What a great idea.

Simple things like the light switches are different, which just seem better for some reason. Road signs are digital, so speed can be adjusted. Tipping is included even in the smallest of orders and when given any extra over the bill, the waiter or waitress is very thankful.
A couple other things, you will not notice any litter, they power wash train an bus stations, streets are clean, and even bathrooms are top notch in most places. Finally, handles on the doors are just designed beautifully and the details they put in to their buildings and living quarters is just amazing.

Most of these things may seem small and inadequate, but when you compare them to home they really do make an impression. I also know that we probably have that stuff at home and maybe we just take it for granted but for some reason this week has opened my eyes to the smaller details in life.

Talking with Alex throughout the beginning of this year I have come to attach details to the success of our team in the future. Every team strives for the same goal so you have to find ways to separate the team from the rest. This is where I found a comparison in the “details” of European culture and the accomplishments of our team. I really believe a team that can focus on the small details, work on them, and perfect them, can in turn breed success.

This trip has been am amazing experience for the players as well for the coaches. I am very thankful for the opportunity and I am excited to use it to help our team reach our goals. 20121011-231358.jpg




Last But Not Least

The Castleton hockey team finished up their set of games tonight versus the local team of Kitzbuhel. The team put together an amazing three periods of hockey and were able to come out with a convincing win. Dan Bell led the way with five points. Freshman Michael Restuccia scored his first ever goals for Castleton hockey tonight with two beauties. Sophomore Brian Greene also contributed to the offense with his first goal. Finally, freshman Jake Stafford had twenty saves in the net for his second win of the trip.

As coaches, we have talked about how we wanted the team to progress and improve each and every game. We looked at these games as a chance to evaluate our team at the current time and also as a chance to better our play at every level.

This game was the culmination of hard work and a good work ethic. Every part of our game was firing on all cylinders. Each player had his best game of the trip and we were able to see the potential that our team possesses. This game excited us and we look forward to the beginning of our season with high aspirations.

The guys played with class and represented the Castleton community very well and as expected.

Everyone is looking forward to a couple of days away from the rink as we travel Munich Germany tomorrow where we will first visit Dachau; a concentration camp from WWII. This is sure to be a meaningful and eye opening trip for our team.

Thanks again for following along, we all appreciate the support!



Rain Can’t Stop The Fun

The Men’s hockey team faced off against Zell am Zee tonight (city by the lake). For a select few freshman it was a chance of a life time to suit up for a European team.

Eric Mack, Michael Restuccia, Gabriel Cromp, Taylor Swarter and Peter Kazakis were awarded a once in a life time opportunity when the local team ran in to some roster trouble due to unforeseen circumstances and were short some players.

The boys got to suit up in the bright, sponsored covered jerseys and play with the European squad. They added some skill to the team which helped make it a great game for all.

Both teams came out strong and Junior Eric Cinotti had to come up with some big saves to keep the game even.

In the second period Castleton’s powerplay came to life tonight and generated a trio of great goals as each unit were able to put nice shots behind the Zell am. Zee goaltender. The final score was 5-0!

The weather did not cooperate today, however it has not dampened anyone’s spirits. Tomorrow we hope to do a group gondola trip up the mountain for some amazing views and pictures. We will play our final game of the trip at 7:30 versus the local team of Kitzbuhel!



Offensive Explosion

Tonight the Men’s hockey team faced the hockey club Kufstein. The arena was very cool, no pun intended, because of the open end which showed views of a castle and the mountains surrounding the city.

The team came out strong with an offensive explosion as 16 players recorded at least one point tonight. Leading the way was senior captain Dan Bell and junior Collin Murray who each had 5 points. Bell was awarded a penalty shot in the third period and scored top glove with a nice shot.

Juniors Kyle Richards and Kyle Pichler also had good games, specifically on the penalty kill where they were able to generate some offense even down a man.

Freshman Eric Mack playing in his first game, recorded a hat trick and Derek Gingera had a very strong game on the powerplay and ended up with 2 goals and 2 assists.

Last but not least, Freshman Jake Stafford was up to the task when tested and recorded his first shut out as a spartan goalie.

The final score was 14-0. Game tomorrow afternoon at 4:30. Look for an update following.

Thanks again for being a part of our European journey!