NCAA men’s hockey team gives back to the local hockey community

Brooke Smith, Sports Editor

A lot of people consider hockey players to be egotistical and rude. However, members of the Robert Morris University men’s hockey team are proof that this stereotype is incorrect. Throughout the year, the team participates in various youth hockey camps at the RMU Island Sports Center.
Colonials such as current senior forwards Ron Cramer, Nick Chiavetta, and Trevor Lewis along with sophomore, Colin South all work at camps down at the RMU Island Sports Center.  All four remember attending camps when they were younger, which makes working these camps rewarding.
“I believe my first hockey camp was when I was four years old so quite a long time ago,” said Lewis.  “I do as many as I can, and anytime I’m needed I try to help.”
While the Colonials do enjoy working with the kids, sometimes working with younger children can cause minor issues. A lot of the issues mainly happen with them because they tend to have a shorter attention span.

“It can be a challenge to figure out a way to explain things to them. Every kid is different and they all have a different way of learning,” said Cramer. “They all have different ways for them to relate to things, and you have to realize how to communicate with them and help them learn.”

Although it can be a challenge, the Colonials realize that it is important for kids to attend these camps in order to enhance their skills.

“The season has just ended for a lot of these kids, so their skills haven’t really been toned, and a lot of them have tryouts coming up,” said Chiavetta.  “It’s good for them to get on the ice and work on those skills and any time you can get on the ice, it’s important to do so.”

Working at these camps has taught the Colonials a lot of things that aren’t hockey related.   “It has made me become more patient because they have a hard time picking things up right away,” said Lewis.
“Working at these camps has taught me two things that can be applied to something other than hockey,” said South. “The first is that myself, and others as well, need to be good role models and try to set a good example whenever we can. Also it has taught me that if I am involved in anything whether it’s school or work or anything else I need to work hard.”
Everyone has different reasons as to why they keep working as counselors at the camps. For Lewis, it’s the fact that he loves working with the kids and it allows him to thank them for their continued support of the Colonials.
“They support us a lot throughout the season and to give some time back to them is something I feel is important,” said Lewis.
South also enjoys working with the kids especially when they are good listeners and eager to learn more about hockey.
“Working with the kids and watching them improve and have fun while they are doing it is quite enjoyable.”

“Just watching the kids get better and with playing here we get to see them throughout the year and having them come up and say ‘hi’ is rewarding and more rewarding than the average summer job,” added Cramer.
The fact that all of the Colonials work together really helps build team unity.
“It has given us a different perspective on one another with how we act around the kids,” said Lewis.  “I think it’s a great way to have us spend time together outside of school and the hockey season.”
The Colonials have learned to realize that not all kids are as passionate about hockey as they are, but they know that they still have to find out how to keep these kids interested while they are on the ice.
“Sometimes it gets a little frustrating when the kids don’t listen but as long as we make sure they have fun I think it’s usually a success,” said Lewis.
Juggling school, hockey camps, their commitments with the Colonials and other commitments can be quite taxing, but the Colonials never use that as an excuse to not help out at the hockey camps.
“It’s not too bad trying to juggle these things,” explains Lewis. “I would say just trying to stay on top of things can be hard and it’s important to be good with time management.”
Pittsburgh native, Colin South, realizes that hockey is rapidly growing in this region and is excited to be a part of it.
“Watching and being a part of the growth of Pittsburgh hockey has been incredible,” said South. “The difference in the amount of and quality of players since I started playing is amazing and hopefully it will continue to grow.”
South also realizes that it is critical for the Colonials to be a part of the growth of hockey in Pittsburgh.
”Hopefully as a team our success will only further increase the kids wanting to play hockey and someday play for Robert Morris. Any chance the team gets to interact with young players we jump on it,” explained South.  “As far as that aspect goes I think our team does a really nice job.”
Members of the NCAA men’s hockey team plan on continuing to work these camps for as long as they can, because they know it not only brings joy to the kids but themselves as well.

“The community around the rink and Robert Morris University really supports our team, so to see them out in the stands and to come on the ice with us makes it all the better,” said Chiavetta.