Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee -Violet Turtle Photography
Eric Lang, Head Coach of AIC, likes when he has a team of players coaching players and driving the bus. That was one of the themes of this past season. When his team was on, it was clear that the veterans were leading the way.
For the upcoming 23-24 campaign, his AIC group is getting a coach, not just a player coach in the sense that he is a leader, but also a coach to other goalies. Cole Hudson is coming to Springfield from Vermont to win sometime in net and to carry forward his drive to help others and be the best. Hudson’s path from being a goalie to learning from Leggio is interesting. He talks about everything from house league to how Leggio helps him with his game and much more. Hudson will compete for time starting for AIC this year. Not many will compete with him for a clear understanding of the portal and what he is coming into. Hudson will compete with Alex Aslanidis and at least one other incoming goalie. Last year AIC had four goalies, of which three earned starts. Depth matters at this position as Lang knows. With Jake Kucharski out down the stretch, Alec Calvaruso, a transfer portal goalie who is a junior hockey champion ( as is Hudson) took the team to its most recent NCAA tournament trip.
As Hudson said “ I have a pretty funny goalie story as it was not planned at all. I was handed the gear when I was 5 for a house league travel team and I didn’t know it was for the whole season, just one game I had thought. But I loved it and never looked back. Here at Vermont I learned how to become a better professional. How to carry yourself when the eyes are on you in such a small community like college is. I got to really get a better understanding on what it takes to reach the next level of hockey and I’m thankful for being able to gain that experience. I decided to transfer because I was looking for an opportunity to play more and earn the starting job. That’s what drew me to AIC, the coaching staff trusts my abilities to come in and compete for starts and that’s all I have wanted from entering the portal. I am never looking for promises but merely just an opportunity to prove myself. Also, I competed for a championship once in junior hockey and I knew that at AIC I would be doing that again, and that really excites me. The staff at AIC told me there was going to be an opportunity for me at AIC, which means a lot when you’re talking about a school with a championship pedigree. Being able to compete for championships at the college level is all an athlete dreams about. I am planning on majoring in athletic recreation and leadership. I think a fun fact about me is that I love to coach goalies in my free time.
This off season will be the same as all the others, trying to perfect my movements in the crease to make saves as easy and efficient as possible. A big highlight of my summer is seeing shots from professional shooters on a daily basis in summer skates. I love the challenge and it brings the most out of me. My goalie coach in buffalo Dave Leggio will be helping me perfect my game before I head off to AIC this fall.He taught me from a young age to simplify things. Goaltending can get very complex and confusing and we often forget that we only have one responsibility and that’s to stop the puck. That’s my biggest thing in teaching young goalies as well. A lot of goalies can get really confused with the ins and outs of goaltending, but if we simplify things and focus on small details you will find success.”
Leggio added some more comments on who Cole is as a student and leader and what he brings “Cole is an incredibly hard working and determined athlete. I have had the privilege of working with Cole for a long time and am always excited to have him back home for skates. We start at 7 am in our “Rise N Grind” group, and he is always ready to work. He brings a great attitude to the rink which is infectious. He continues to try to get better on a daily basis which is why he has been able to win a championship in the NAHL, and continue to climb the ranks. I am very excited for Cole to join a great program at AIC, and I think his coaches and teammates will really enjoy having him as a part of the group.”
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