Cianciolo, Tranghese, Duffy, Hagan, Coach Leaman, Flynn, Rossamondo, Iannuccilli
We met as we usually do, at the same table at Capriccio’s Restaurant.
As the Coach turned the corner bearing the championship trophy, he bounced… a lively step, the step of one about to fire on goal, and placed it, cautiously, and maybe a bit reluctantly as he seemed married to it, on a small table nearby. We paused to look. There, there it was, THE TROPHY, the NCAA Hockey Championship trophy, ours (oh yes, we PC 7 are possessive). We had trouble taking our eyes off it. When we did, it was to chat with the Coach.
He seemed a friend for years… comfortable, conversant, pleased, relaxed, knowledgeable, eye contact, on smooth ice… you name it … he had it all. He was a colleague indeed. He seemed so young, but then again, so do so many these days.
We fired away…Do you expect to win again this year? Who are your recruits? Are you happy with the College? Are you staying (in the context of a threat…you’re not leaving, are you?)? Do you like the new facility, etc., etc. He answered them all with comfort and confidence.
We did give him a little time to eat his lunch, but not much. After all, he was a hockey guy.
This was the second time he lunched with us, the first was before the season started. He said we were his lucky bunch and, can you believe it, he wanted to pay for the lunch because he felt we played a part in bringing the trophy. Was he serious?
So his offer to buy lunch, which we had trouble refusing (kidding), was another part of the man that impressed even more. His concern for others…his family and players most of all…but also for us. He thanked us!
“No, no, Coach, we thank you!” You gave us what we grads wanted…the inside track, a ticket to the locker room. That’s plenty.
Values, conversation, enthusiasm, pride, the trophy…he brought it all.
Sure, the lunch ended. It had to. But the ride will continue.
See you in the fall, Coach. Don’t forget the trophy.