Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
Dominick Procopio has one of the most refined views on life and hockey that we have seen. The defenseman who just transferred to Alabama Huntsville is coming to study English, and pursue a Masters Degree at Huntsville in Literature. The reasoning behind that goes to his love for existentialist philosopher Albert Camus. Camus said in the myth of the Greek Legend Sisyphus, forever cursed to push a boulder up a hill for it to roll back down and start over the the next day ” one must imagine Sisyphus happy.” Kamus comes to this conclusion, arguably because to perform a task, repetitively, he concludes that Sisyphus must enjoy what he is doing. That quote is Dominick’s favorite, and one we kept jumping back to discussing as we talked about his choice to come to Huntsville. He does so with nothing but thanks and gratitude to everyone in Lowell, and the staff there was helpful in coordinating whatever he needed in his journey to Huntsville.
He comes to Alabama Huntsville from Umass-Lowell. His relationship with the Huntsville staff centers around his time being coached by current Associate Head Coach Karlis Zirnis. He coached him when Procopio pushed his Shreveport team to a Robertson Cup. That moment so far has been the highlight of his hockey career. Since coming to Lowell, in his three seasons there, the stay at home defender has played more than 10 games in a season once. His box score numbers do not account for the kind of player he is. As he said,” I’m not flashy but I am effective.” He is bringing a game that should fit well with the current group of defenders. Karlis taught him to focus on being himself, noting that there are a lot of ways to be effective on the back end. As Dominick said that he has learned from Karlis ” you don’t have to be Erik Karlsson to be effective.”
Dominick wants to model his game after Mark Giordano. That is, he wants to be the responsible player who knows how to add offense in bursts when able. As he put it of what fans of the Chargers should expect from him both on and off the ice,” I am going to be unapologetically myself.” On and off the ice, Dominick wants to be involved with teaching. He values all of his professors, and teachers, past, present and future. Getting a Master’s Degree in Literature from Alabama Huntsville would allow him to have options. When we asked about what he wanted to do when he was done playing hockey, he mentioned every option from coaching to being a tenure-track professor. In his time in hockey he has helped shape people’s minds and served as a servant-leader for the teams he has been a part of, Procopio looks to bring same mindset towards leading a college classroom one day.
He picked Huntsville because it looked like the program that provides the best fit for him to play. He did tell Karlis when he comitted, ” you have to let me fail.” By that he means letting him get consistent looks and chances to develop chemistry with a defense partner and play. Procopio is thankful for his time at Lowell, and actually received sound reviews of Lance West’s coaching style, and West himself from former Charger Josh Latta when making the tough decision to transfer. For the positives he is bringing to Huntsville from Lowell, he noted the superb culture of the team that he was a part of, that same culture allowed the River Hawks to go on a postseason run and finish one game short of the NCAA Tournament. As he said of Lowell’s culture, “if your car breaks down you can call anybody… and you can play two games and be respected like you have 40 goals.”
As he continues to push the boulder up the mountain, and works to improve his game and his grasp of existentialism on a daily basis. One thing is clear, in making the choice to come to Huntsville, Dominick has found a place where he can continue his academic career, while getting more chances to help his team push the boulder up the hill each day and improve, not just in practice, but in games. A lot of the growth in Alabama Huntsville this past season came from a new start during each week, from having the ability to delete the past and work harder to strive to a better future. Dominick plays his game around that same ideal, and will be a leader for Zirnis once again, and a leader for Alabama Huntsville, on the ice, in the practice room, in the classroom, in the community, and in so many other places. He is himself, and one does not have to look very far to imagine Dominick to be happy with his choice to transfer to Huntsville.
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