BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Freshman Brian Kramer has come out strong in this early ice hockey season and leads Gov. Livingston (4-1-1), scoring points in each of the six games played to date. He opened the season with two goals and two assists against Xavier and recently scored four goals against Watchung Hills Regional High School. 

In the infancy of his high school career, [scoring 10 goals and 5 assists], Kramer has already been named NJIIHL Player of the Week, by NJ.com, for Dec. 10-16. 

"Brian is a competitor. As the youngest brother of three hockey players, Brian has plenty of experience playing hockey and competing with his older brothers," said Gov. Livingston head coach Michael Criscitello. "I think that this leads to his fearless approach on the ice. He is relentless and doesn't shy away from any puck, he is willing to do whatever it takes to make a play." 

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Brian's older brothers Kyle ( '15) and Danny ('17) were part of the re-growth period of the Gov. Livingston Hockey Program. Danny's senior year, the Highlanders overtook the Millburn Millers to capture the Kelly Cup conference title and scored 124 high school career points.

There is no doubt that Brian has taken his brother's words of advise to heart. -- "No matter what the score is, finish out every game knowing that you gave it your all," Danny had said to the pipeline of future Highlanders. "In order to improve, it takes 100% of your effort in every practice and game. There will be obstacles throughout hockey careers, but it is all about how those obstacles are overcome with hard work and dedication. That is how players become better." 

"Brian is an extremely talented and hard-working young player who has a bright four years ahead of him," said Coach Criscitello.

Brian took time out to answer a few questions in recognition of being named Valairco Heating and Cooling Highlander Athlete of the Week.

TAPinto: When did you start playing? 

Brian: I started playing at the age of 7.

TAPinto: What club are you with now? 

Brian: Jersey Colts

TAPinto: What training helped you prepare for varsity hockey?

Brian: Having my birthday at the end of the year has made me play club hockey with kids that were always bigger, stronger, and always 1-2 grades older than me.

TAPinto: How has it been managing the demands between varsity hockey and your club? 

Brian: I play on a very good club that plays a fast tempo and our games are always competitive. Also, having my teammates being older, they always push me in every practice and in games. It has all helped me with my transition to high school.

TAPinto: What advice would you give to your fellow young players when playing among and against older varsity players?

Brian: I would tell them even when you are playing kids bigger than you, it’s important to have self-confidence and determination and to tell yourself that you can always play up to their level as long as you keep working hard. 

TAPinto: Being the youngest of the Kramer brothers, how have your brothers influenced your love of the game?  What have you learned from them?

Brian: They have helped me a ton along the way. Ever since I first started playing, it could be 7 am or 10 pm and they always asked to go in the garage and play around. I have learned so much from them about being a smarter hockey player and also different skill moves they have taught me along the way to improve my game.

TAPinto: What has been the best advice you have received from a coach?

Brian: Visualize your success before the game and when it comes to game time, focus on winning the next shift and not the bigger picture.

TAPinto: Do you have a pre-game ritual?

Brian: I tune everyone out in the locker room before the game and listen to some music that pumps me up.

TAPinto: Do you have aspirations to play hockey in college?

Brian: If I get the chance, it would be a great accomplishment and I would love to continue my career into college.

TAPinto: Do you have a favorite subject?

Brian: Math

TAPinto: Who is your favorite athlete?

Brian: Nathan Mackinnon

TAPinto: Do you have a role model?

Brian: Both of my brothers are my role models.

TAPinto: What do you like to do when you are not playing a sport? 

Brian: I have a close-knit group of friends, and we hang out together and have fun when we are not playing various sports. 

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Valairco Heating & Cooling is the proud sponsor of the Highlander Athlete of the Week. Kevin McHugh, Valairco Owner and President and Berkeley Heights resident, is an alumni of Gov. Livingston High School.

Valairco Heating & Cooling is celebrating 50 years in business. They are family owned and operated and know that keeping your HVAC systems running smoothly is important to the comfort of our customers, their families, and their guests. That is why their family is dedicated to taking care of yours, no matter what the issue may be. Using only top-quality parts to perform a higher-standard of service and all their services are backed by their 50 years of professional experience and 5-year comprehensive warranties. This means that when you call our team at Valairco, you benefit from their total commitment to your complete satisfaction.