USA Hockey Magazine

November 2015

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28 NOVEMBER. 2015 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM PHOTOS COURTESY OF U.S. Coast Guard Academy For Cadets At The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Playing Hockey Is Just Another Step In The Journey // By JIM LEITNER J oey Dore takes a unique approach to recruiting players to the United States Coast Guard Academy's club hockey program. First and foremost, the 17-year veteran of the Coast Guard and Level 4 hockey coach serves as a cadet advisor at the academy in New London, Conn. So, he scrutinizes a candidate's leadership potential and ability to thrive in a military setting more than his or her stickhandling skills. "I'm not looking for players to build a team that's going to win a championship. I'm building people who are going to be great Coast Guard officers who happen to play hockey and have a love for the sport," Dore said. "It's a really different ballgame for us. The players on our team come here for the career and the education. They didn't come here specifically to play hockey. But, having a hockey program allows them to do something they love, get out of the barracks and away from the military life for a few hours a day and be a leader in a different way, as an athlete." From the moment cadets arrive on campus to the day they graduate, the Coast Guard Academy puts them through a rigorous four- year curriculum. They begin as followers and gradually elevate to role models and mentors before graduating as leaders. The leadership program includes theory in the classroom, experience in sailing and being a part of an organization whose roots date back to the 1790s. "Their entire day is based around this component of leadership, whether they're in the classroom, at the rink or in the barracks," said Ira Martin, a leadership scholar and an assistant coach with the hockey program. "The company officers, the officers, the enlisted folks who are overseeing them and their coaches all speak a similar lan- guage. Certainly, the hockey program fits within the framework of the academy's mission statement." The Coast Guard Acadmey, which includes less than 1,000 cadets, often strug- gles with the numbers game when it comes to fielding a hockey team. This season's squad includes just 21 players, including three female cadets, of varying playing abilities. Adding to the challenge, the Bears play a schedule loaded with some of the top club programs in New England. "You're going to be in situations that aren't going to go in your favor, so there are defi- nitely a lot of life lessons to be learned," said Lou Depaolis, a senior alternate captain. "The biggest thing is learning to take care of your teammates, especially the younger ones, so they don't get stressed out about all the things that go along with being on a tight leash in a military setting. "There's generally a high sense of camara- derie, and we make sure everyone gets their work done on and off the ice. We want to be the whole package. We want to be a team that sets an example for the rest of the academy." And Following Seas FAIR WINDS

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