Devin Tringale (far left) and the Mass Satelitte Coaches in Sweden this summer (courtesy Phillip Genatossio)
MEDFORD, Mass. - Hey Harvard, Devin Tringale here. I'm a junior in Winthrop House and member of the men's ice hockey team. This August I was given the unique opportunity to travel to Stockholm, Sweden for nine days to serve as an assistant hockey coach for the Massachusetts Satellite Program.
The Mass Satellite Program has been developing the state's premier hockey talent for over twenty years. Since it's founding, countless future NHL and collegiate hockey players spent summers training with the Satellite Program. To bring it closer to home, Harvard Hockey players Jimmy Vesey, Colin Blackwell, Desmond Bergin, Eddie Ellis, and myself are all Mass Satellite alum.
Each summer, the program selects its top players to represent Massachusetts in a tournament against the finest youth talent in the greater Stockholm area. The players fortunate enough to be selected are rewarded with an incredibly culturing, first-class experience, both as athletes and people.
As soon as we touched down in Europe, we were swept away by the rich history and culture of Stockholm. We toured the city, visited museums, and cruised a boat tour that navigated the famous archipelago that makes up the landscape. Although site seeing was both eye opening and unforgettable, the trip was much more than that for the players and coaches.
The tournament exposed us to training philosophies and playing styles that were completely foreign to us Americans. The Swedes take a vastly different approach to developing their young athletes. Post-game, we dined with players and coaches from the opposing teams, allowing us to truly immerse ourselves in the Swedish culture through dialogue that ranged from school, food, music, sports training, and of course, hockey.
Every year, two college hockey players are invited to coach on the Sweden trip, in hopes of offering a learning experience to the players from qualified athletes who once sat in the same skates and shared the same dreams. As role model college athletes, as well as Mass Satellite alum, we represent the realization of what these young athletes dream to accomplish – the opportunity to play Division I hockey. In a sense, our presence was there to encourage them with a message we were fortunate to have instilled in us at their age– you can.
Sports, and the athletes we look up to most, teach us ideals like work ethic, leadership, resilience, and discipline. For many of us, athletics have molded us into the people we are or strive to become. Perhaps most importantly, though, athletics have been the key – opening doors to potentially unattainable academic and professional opportunities that we would otherwise find locked. I can only hope the impact that we made on the players was as positive as the countless experiences that guided me on my journey to Harvard.
Back home in Medford, reflecting on my experience in Sweden, I realize this trip not only brought me insight into a new culture, but also back to the wide-eyed, teenage, me. A familiar message was there, alive on the faces circling the locker room – you can. I was taken right back to those days, that energy. I share this reflection with the Harvard community because so many of us have been fortunate enough to have this message imparted in our memory, and have an athletic community that has shaped and given us so much. Reflecting back on the past summer, as well as what we all hope to achieve this year, in any realm, I'd like to encourage everyone to keep that message with them – you can.