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  • Matt Ondesko

Excelling in all areas

By Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor Photos: Geoff Schneider/Sports Union

Some are pushed into as a way to get some extra fitness in. Others want to play and everything that come with. That’s the crazy thing about sports. You either love it or hate it, there is never an in between.

But, just as important sports are to a young person, they can never lose sight of just how important school is. While sports will be there for a number years, some will play all the way through college, maybe get lucky and the pro’s, must student-athletes will see their careers end in either high school or the college level.

That’s why when it comes to picking a high school and college it’s very important to remember the academic side. Life after college is a very daunting thing to have to conquer. But, with a solid education it could be made a little bit easier.

Nichols School senior hockey player Alexandra Snow knows the importance of education. While a standout on the ice for the Vikings, Snow is also a standout in the classroom. She has been on the honor roll all four years while at the school, and started her Nichols journey in fifth grade.

“I’ve been at Nichols since fifth grade, and it’s great to be able to mix the various sports with the high quality academics. During each of my eight years I played both field hockey and ice hockey each season, along with four years of lacrosse,” stated Snow. “Nichols encourages its students to be independent thinkers, and to not always have to rely on others each day. For me, developing my time management skills have been an important part of my academic success. This is especially important during a sports season like hockey where we often travel during school hours. It’s up to me to work with my teachers in advance in order to stay on top of my school work. The teachers are also very understanding and are always willing to work with you to help maintain the highest grade possible.”

Working hard is nothing new for the 17-year-old Buffalo resident. Whether it’s in the classroom, on the turf or on the ice, Snow makes sure she puts in the hard work it takes to be successful at all facets of the game and in life.

On the ice, Snow is that defensive defenseman. She isn’t going to score you many goals, more ion that in a minute. But, Snow will make the plays that will help her team win. She is the classic defenseman that thinks of defense first, and it has worked out pretty well for her career so far.

“A good defenseman needs to play strong positional hockey in their own zone and also be a good communicator. I consider these to be two of my biggest strengths,” stated Snow. “We are often the ones directing traffic in our zone, so it’s important to always be talking to your teammates. Even though I’m only 5’5”, I also play a physical game both in front of the next and along the boards.”

Back in November, however, Snow finally got to feel what it’s like to have that goal scoring feeling. Defense wins championships, as they say. Everyone once and while, though, that defenseman wants to see what all the fuss is about when scoring a goal.

It happened in Vermont.  It was a close game with Kings-Edgehill School and Snow was just doing what she normally does. Snow received the puck at the blue line and fired a low shot through a lot of traffic.

Next thing you know everyone is rushing back to congratulate her on her first career goal. It was a long time coming, but definitely worth the wait.

“I play more of a defensive style, so goals don’t come as easy for me as others. We were playing at the NAPHA tournament in Vermont in November, and it was a close game against Kings-Edgehill School late in the third period,” explained Snow. “The puck came to me at the point and I just tried to make sure my shot was low and on net because there was a lot of traffic in front. I honestly didn’t even see the puck go in. Everyone just started celebrating and came rushing back to congratulate me. It was definitely a long time coming, and probably the coolest feeling I’ve had in my four years at Nichols. I was really fired up on the bench afterwards.”

The adulation from her teammates just shows the type of person and leader Snow is. Her teammates love her and were proudly more excited that her that she scored the goal. That is just the type of personality that Snow has.

She is a people person and it shows on the ice. Her leadership shows on the ice as well. Snow is teaching the younger players how to play the game the right way just like she was shown when she was a freshman taking to the ice for the first time as a varsity hockey player.

She is part of the Leadership Group on the hockey team and her experience has rubbed off on the rest of the team.

“We have five seniors this year, and four of us also play together with the Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles U19 team. We’ve had a lot of success at Niagara this season, so we brought that positive mentality to the Nichols locker room,” stated Snow. “I’m the kind of player that really tries to lead by example, especially with the younger players. I want them to feel comfortable coming to the older players with ideas and input because we are all part of the same team. It wasn’t that long ago that I was one of them and I remember how important it was for me to feel part of the team at a young age.”

Colleges have definitely taken notice of all the hard work Snow has put in on and off the ice. It has always been a dream for Snow to continue playing at the highest level. Her game was noticed by a lot of schools.

It just came down to the right fit for her both academically and athletically. Snow wanted to make sure that she was comfortable at the college that she choose before making that commitment. All that hard work she has put in finally paid off when she committed to Castleton University.

“Just like it was my dream to play at Nichols, playing in college was always the next goal for me. I was talking to eight different schools at the time, but the decision to play at Castleton University was easy for me. I first connected with head coach Mike Venezia last season when I played for the New England Hockey Club in the JWHL,” stated Snow. “We spoke at the various showcase tournaments I attended in the summer, and then I visited the campus in August. After he offered me a spot in September, I did an overnight visit and stayed on campus with a former New England teammate. I had the chance to attend several classes and speak to some teachers during that visit, and it all just felt right. I never really wanted to attend a big school, so the small town feel of Castleton was perfect for me.”

The soon to be political science major just doesn’t want to be another freshman on campus. Snow wants to compete, and contribute, to the team as soon as she steps on the ice.

That’s the type of competitor she is. Snow has been competing for everything she has. Whether it’s field hockey, lacrosse or hockey, Snow has worked for everything, and hasn’t been given anything.

She will now take that same mentality to the college level.

“Coach Venezia will be giving me a summer training plan, and that will be a big focus of my preparation. I don’t want to be just another player at Castleton, I want to be able to step in and contribute right away,” stated Snow. “That means I need to work on the little things that will give me an edge in game situations. I know the pace will be another step up for me, so I need to be ready to go right away.”


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