For the last couple of years as I did the yearly player profiles for the Lindsay Muskies I have had a consistent response from Joey Vocino as far as his wishes for the future. They always involved continuing with hockey while working to further his education which hopefully would include a university degree. As late as a few weeks ago there was nothing to report, and Joey's last year of junior hockey was quickly ticking away.
But last week one day that all changed.
Joey learned that he has been accepted to SUNY (State University New York) in Canton, New York where he will be pursuing his Bachelor of Applied Arts, and a teaching degree, all the while continuing to play a high level of competitive hockey at the NCAA level.
When I had a chance to speak with Joey after last Friday night's loss to the Hamilton Red Wings it didn't take long for his smile to come back once we began speaking about his future. Family is obviously huge to Joey, as his Mom, Dad, and brother Matt are always in attendance, making the drive up from Pickering to Lindsay, and he is excited that the University is not that far away, 20 miles south of the border between Brockville, and Cornwall. He expects that the clan will still be able to cheer him on regularly.
The Pickering native played Minor Midget AAA hockey with a couple of different teams. In 2009 he was with the Markham Waxer Minor Midget AAA squad, then in 2011 he Captained the Ajax/Pickering Raiders. In 2012 he played Junior C for the Uxbridge Bruins, and for the last two seasons he has played Junior A here in Lindsay.
Dan West has been Joey's coach from his days in Uxbridge forward.
“I've coached Joey for 3 years now. First thing is, he comes from an incredible family!
We are extremely excited to see Joey gain a scholarship to attend school and play at Canton next season. This has been a goal of his for a very long time and he has worked hard to achieve it.”
West also shared some thoughts on Vocino's approach to the game.
“Joey's hockey IQ is very high, he is very smart and studies the game all the time seeking ways to become a better player and to gain any advantages he can. He has been a great leader for us on and off the ice. His hands are as quick as any player I have coached, he uses this to his advantage on face-offs as well as in tight on a goaltender. He is primarily a "set-up" man always looking to find open teammates and has the patience and poise with the puck required to do so”.
In an online interview last week Joey spoke highly of his time here with the Muskies.
“Being a part of the Lindsay Muskies Organization over the past 2 years has provided me with the opportunity to develop as a hockey player and as a person. I am thankful for the opportunity to have been involved in a number of community events and provide leadership to a younger group of teammates”, he stated.
SUNY Men's Hockey Head Coach Trevor Gilligan had nothing but anticipation of Joey joining the team next season.
“Joe Vocino is a valuable building block to the foundation we are piecing together at SUNY Canton. Joe provides strength down the middle for our future, and his quick stick will be significant in the circle. Joe is a grade A person, and will be a great addition to our already strong locker-room.”
West explained some of the characteristics that you can imagine Coach Gilligan is excited about.
“In 3 years Joey has become very dependable 2-way hockey player. He has become a defensively responsible player who completes in all 4 corners. His effectiveness on special teams is a treat to watch and he constantly commands his teammates to get better every day on and off the ice.”
Joey finished up his online interview by saying, “I'd like to thank coach Dan West for all of his time, energy and commitment. I'd also like to thank my billet family Darlene and Leonard for making my stay in Lindsay feel like home.”
It's been a pleasure not only watching Joey play for the last two seasons here in Lindsay, but also covering the community events he has taken part in. His portion of our Pink in the Rink video alongside teammates Paddy Morgan and Mike Spataro was one of the most moving moments I've been involved in for quite some time.
Joey is a class act, and we wish him all the best.