Photo Credit: Lindy Feider
One of the first things AIC goaltender Alec Calvaruso made clear was one regret. If he could re do his hockey ascendancy to the Division one level, he would have played an extra year of junior hockey to gain more experience. He went straight from the NAHL to Colorado College. While being a Tiger, he did not play hockey enough. There’s one goalie playing per team at any time, and for the first time, most of the time it wasn’t him. Hockey was not fun for him, and he needed a changed of scenery. He needed to make a change. He headed to the USHL to play for the Sioux Falls Stampede. Alec does have a Clark Cup and Robertson Cup on his resume and has done a lot wherever he has played the game of hockey.
He praised Scott Owens for doing a lot for him as a member of the herd. “ I think just being there and getting my confidence back was the biggest thing. Sioux Falls made the game fun for me again.”
He wanted to play. Calvaruso was thankful for his time at Colorado College, but also had to deal with adversity. The first six games at AIC he didn’t play this year, and he credits his experience as a Tiger for preparing for what that looks like.
He choose AIC in part “ I have nothing but good things to say about the school here.” He saw the clear chance here to play for Coach Lang. The team instantly embraced Calvaruso. “ the culture here with everybody and how they get along , there’s nothing like it, there’s not a bad guy here. Everybody loves the coaches and you have something to play for.” He is enrolled in the one year MBA program at AIC, and is ready to use his degree and network playing across three different colleges and two different junior teams. Alec enjoys being part of the group at AIC and genuinely has a good time with this group. His roommate is Luka Maver, who has one of the hardest shots to stop on the team ( as Calvaruso said). The pair does not do too many activities outside of watching copious amounts of movies, and playing the game they love together with their group of elite humans that Head Coach Eric Lang has assembled. They do both enjoy eating sushi and poke bowls on a frequent basis as well.
He praised all of his goaltending partners, especially Jarrett Fiske who is known as “cheese.” Calvaruso praised Ryan McInchak and Jarrett Fiske for their work ethnic. Fiske is often the first on the ice and the last to leave and is a culture building leader on this team. Both are ready to play at this level right now if called on according to Calvaruso. Alec also praised the consistency and skill of Jake Kucharski and enjoys simply being with a group that is giving him a chance to get better every single day. As he said of himself and Jake for keeping things fun, “ we’re kind of the goofballs in the locker room.”
AIC doesn’t have a goalie as it’s “ goalie coach” it has Patrick Tabb who fills the role of being the is the goalie coach, as Calvaruso said “ you don’t have to play a high level of a position to know how to coach it” and provides another perspective on the game. Tabb makes the goalies better on a daily basis and does a lot behind the scenes to help this team.
Off ice, as many others have said, Calvaruso added that, “ just being at AIC compared to the other schools I’ve been at .. the biggest thing has been the culture.” He praised his time at RPI as well, and credits all his stops for making him better.
One thing Calvaruso particularly loves is Eric Lang’s philosophy on pulling or not pulling goalies when the team is getting shellacked. Lang rarely does it and never does it barring injury during the middle of the period. Head Coach of AIC Eric Lang has repeatedly said to any outlet who will ask something to the effect of doing that ( pulling the goalie to absolve the team in front of them for a bad night the whole team is having) has an effect of absolving the skaters on the ice for their poor play.
This is quite different than some of the other coaches Alec has played for in his career. “ I kind of like it’s you know if you don’t have a hot start you can battle through it, mentally it’s kind of helped me.” He knows Eric Lang wants him to battle through the down times and trusts his goalies in that way. In his brief time at AIC, Alec has found another home where he can be a leader, a positive goofball, and a steadying force that makes others on his team better.
When you think of the AIC Hockey family and the ability to bond with a team, Cavalruso and his experience that lead him to Springfield seems like a perfect match. Lang likes to bring elite humans to his team. Cavalruso has all of the disposition of an elite human, with an elite calming presence on the ice to match it.
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