Sports

Senior Captain Focused on Final Run on the Ice

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R.J. LaSpina is a team captain and starting forward for the Sabers.   Credits: Rob DiAntonio
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Somers senior R.J. LaSpina is a team captain and forward on the Somers/North Salem varsity ice hockey team.

How old were you when you first started playing ice hockey and how did you get started?

I started playing hockey when I was 4 years old. My parents took me to Brewster Ice Arena for a free skate; I saw kids playing hockey and instantly I knew it was what I wanted to do.

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What are the team’s goals this season?

This season our team wants to help improve each player individually, which will lead to the team’s success. But most importantly we want to have a good time, especially for us seniors where this is our final run.

The team is off to a strong start with a win over Greeley and a shootout victory over John Jay-Cross River. What’s been the key to the strong start?

Our team consists of a young and overlooked group of kids with a ton of potential. We can run 2-3 lines and we’re able to keep up with our opponents.

As a senior captain, how do you see your role on the team, and how much do you value being a team leader?

It is an honor for me to be a captain of this great group of kids. I want to help each player grow not only on the ice but off the ice as well. I want to help raise leaders from the young group of kids for the following years to come.

What is your favorite team activity, pre-game or post-game ritual that you share with your teammates?

Pre-games in our locker room consists of joking around with a little music in the background. It is a very social environment, and it serves as a time to relax and have a good time before we go to work.

Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?

Over the years, my parents have served as my biggest role models. We have been through it all together and they have taught me to never give up and that with hard work you can get through anything.

Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?

I enjoy long walks on the beach and food is the key to my heart.

Do you plan on continuing to play hockey in college? If yes, where are you going and why did you choose that school?

Hockey has always been a huge part of my life, so I plan to continue it throughout my college career. I have not yet decided which college I will attend, but I plan to continue playing hockey wherever I go. 

Do you know what you want to study in college? If yes, what and why?

I plan to study business because I’ve always liked math and it will serve as a gateway into various other work fields.

Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?

Although I am an avid New York Rangers fan, my favorite professional athlete is Sidney Crosby. He is incredibly skilled and it inspires me how he leads by example.

What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a game?

Before a game, I have a very broad spectrum of music that ranges from Zac Brown Band and country, to Kid Cudi and The Rolling Stones.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

No doubt it would be the ability to fly. I always wondered what it would be like if I could fly, so it would be a great little perk to have.

If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?

I would take a trip to any island. I love sitting on the beach in the warm weather, so I would enjoy being on any island.

What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?

My favorite post-game meal has to be steak. It has always been my favorite food and it serves as a great reward after a long game.

Best place to eat in Somers and why?

The LaSpina house. My dad is always making new and fantastic meals, so coming home for dinner is always something to look forward to.

Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Why?

Instagram. There’s a lot less to catch up on compared to the live Twitter feeds.

For a young athlete growing up in Somers, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the ice hockey program and why should they go out for the team?

For any young athlete, there is no greater feeling than playing the sport you love for your school. Being on the hockey team is a ton of fun and is a great way to represent your school.

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