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Cicero brings the energy

by Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor

Photos: Rob Branning/Holy Cross

There is something calming about an ice rink. Walking in and seeing your breath as you walk to locker room. Sitting in the stall, taping the stick, lacing the skates, it’s all right in front of you.

You dream about making the game-winning play on the ice, or the winning save. You have dreams of playing hockey for as long as you can. If you’re lucky, those dreams will become a reality.

Holy Cross hockey player Alec Cicero has been a durable player for the Crusaders during his four-year career. After only playing in 16 games his first season, due to Covid, Cicero has appeared is 75 games over the past two seasons, including 27 games so far this year.

He has been a key contributor ever since he stepped on the ice, on the scoresheet - and on the ice. When you see Cicero on the ice you know the energy is coming. He is a physical presence for a Crusaders team that is in the mix in Atlantic Hockey.

“I bring energy and physicality every time I step on the ice. I think I play a hard 200 foot game which helps lead me and my teammates to more offense,” stated Cicero. “I think a good mindset to have is to always try to make a positive impact each time you step on the ice whether that be making a clean pass, a hard back check, or blocking a shot, they all matter and make you and your team better for it.”

Cicero’s journey to Holy Cross started back in Western New York. The Williamsville native was part of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres since he was on the 13U team. He, and his game, kept progressing until he played for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the OJHL.

The OJHL is a premier junior hockey league that is made up of Canadian teams, and the one American team in the Jr. Sabres. The competition is top-notch with a lot of players going on to play Division I hockey.

For Cicero being able to play with some of the best players helped elevate his game to the next level.

“I played for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres since 13U all the way up to playing my junior career for them as well. My first year in the OJHL we had a great group of older guys that taught me a lot and pushed me everyday to become a better hockey player,” stated Cicero. “My second year I took on the role as Captain as a 19-year-old, which taught me the aspects of being a leader on a team. I knew I had to gain the respect from the older players by being consistent and giving everything I had every time I stepped in the gym and on the ice.”

Being one of the younger players on the Jr. Sabres taught Cicero about taking nothing for grant it. He knew that if he didn’t perform when called upon, he could see himself being a healthy scratch.

He carried that work ethic to Holy Cross, which has helped him ever since.

“Being a younger player, I learned that nothing is given to you and you have to earn your ice time and take advantage of any chance you get on the ice,” stated Cicero. “I also learned how to communicate and learn with the older players and use any advice from them to my advantage.”

Now that Cicero is an upperclassmen he remembers what is was like the first time he stepped on the ice at Holy Cross. He remembers trying to find his way, and his role. He also knows that you don’t need a letter on sweater to be a leader.

It’s the job of the upperclassmen to help get the younger boys acclimated as quick as possible to the college game. The faster the boys get comfortable, the better the team has a chance to succeed.

“We have a great leadership core and group of older guys that are all super close which I think sets a good example for the younger guys,” stated Cicero. “It’s important for the upperclassmen who don’t have a letter on their chest to still lead by example and keep the younger guys focused everyday. I think the best way for the younger players to respect you as a person and a player and to want to learn from you is to just work hard and be respectful to everyone around campus.”

It has been a great hockey journey so far for Cicero, one that isn’t close to coming to an end. His journey made him grow up fast, to a point, but it also allowed him to experience different cultures.

He was able to get an appreciation for how other people live around the country. With one year left, Cicero still has a lot of hockey left in him.

“Traveling to new places and meeting new people is part of the hockey experience. I have experienced many different cultures and it makes me appreciate how other people live around the country. It has also made me more outgoing and how to communicate with others,” stated Cicero. “I have another year of eligibility which I am hoping to take advantage of and continue with my college career and then see where that takes me after. Hockey has given me the best moments of my life and I am looking forward to making more memories and playing pro hockey would be a dream come true.”

But, for right now, Cicero is living in the moment. He is trying to help Holy Cross get back to the NCAA tournament. The future is the future. The present is all about what you do at practice each day as you get ready for your big weekend games.

“I am focusing on living in the present and working towards a championship in the near future. Making a name for myself and the Holy Cross Men’s Hockey program is the focus now and to do that you need to win,” stated Cicero. “I am excited for what the future holds for my hockey career and after but for now the main focus is lifting the trophy we fell just shy of last year.”

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