USA Hockey Magazine

November 2015

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29 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM NOVEMBER. 2015 The hockey team faced a critical leader- ship opportunity on Feb. 8, 2014, while returning home from a game against the rival Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. Roughly halfway into the two-hour trip on Interstate 95 in Connecticut, the team's bus driver suffered a medical emergency, and the bus began accelerating and swerving across the four-lane interstate. Three players—Ben Lesniak, Mike Rossi and Alex Mead—and team trainer Travis Fender seized control of the bus and pro- vided medical care to the driver during the harrowing ordeal. All four received Coast Guard commendation medals for their actions. "They didn't just save the bus driver's life," Dore said. "They saved a lot of people's lives that night." While the four attended to the driver and gained control of the bus, other cadets instructed their teammates to fasten their seatbelts and prepare for a potential impact. The bus came within inches of colliding into a concrete median and narrowly avoided oncoming traffic. "It speaks to how, as a leader, the academy teaches you to keep your head and stay calm in stressful situations," Depaolis said. "You have to be able to stay calm and be able to take charge, even though you're in a life-or- death situation. They were able to respond to a crisis without any hesitation at all." It takes an extra level of commitment to play hockey at the Coast Guard Academy. Because ice time at nearby Connecticut College is at a premium, the Bears practice at 5 a.m. each day before their rigorous military schedules begins at 8 a.m. "Anyone who plays hockey loves the game and will do whatever it takes to play it," said Nick Mombello, a junior team cap- tain. "That means you have to make some sacrifices to be able to do it. For us, that means giving up a lot, especially sleep and time to yourself. It means a lot to be able to do something you love, like playing hockey, while in a military institution." The highlight of the Coast Guard Academy's season will come on Martin Luther King Weekend with the Service Leaders of Tomorrow Tournament. Four of the five service academies, including Army, Navy and the Merchant Marine Academy, will meet at the home of the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The three-day tournament features an awards banquet and a skills competition. It's the service academy club hockey programs' version of the Beanpot. N Jim Leitner is the sports editor of the Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald. "THERE'S GENERALLY A HIGH SENSE OF CAMARADERIE, AND WE MAKE SURE EVERYONE GETS THEIR WORK DONE ON AND OFF THE ICE." —LOU DEPAOLIS, A SENIOR ALTERNATE CAPTAIN Legacy Of Leadership The 1942-44 U.S. Coast Guard Cutters/Clippers rosters included a number of Hockey Hall of Famers, including Frank 'Mr. Zero' Brimsek (Boston Bruins) and John Mariucci (Chicago Blackhawks).

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