Albany High student-athletes break the ice
ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb.
14, 2018) – In the beginning,
everyone was a stranger. Every practice was a road trip.
And as the cold weeks and months passed,
unfortunately almost every game turned into a loss.
So how did it feel to be the first Albany
High School student-athletes to play high school hockey?
C’mon … it was hockey!
“It was lot of fun,” said sophomore Chris
Gallagher (at left in the photo).
“It’s been cool,” said junior Patrick
Trippany (second from right).
“We had some good bonding,” said junior Yoni
Eligberg (center), the driver for all of those road trips to practice and “home”
games at Union College in Schenectady.
Eilgberg, Trippany and Gallagher played for
the Niskayuna-Schenectady-(and now)-Albany Mohawks this winter.
The other two high schools were
well-established partners in the Capital District High School Hockey
League. The addition of the Albany High student-athletes for the first
time was very welcome, said coach Sean O’Connell (at right in
“They are all good athletes and they were
ready to go when they came in,” O’Connell said. “They’ve been very
positive on the ice and they bonded really well with the other players,
and our players have been great with them.”
Hockey is a small, tight-knit community. So
the three Albany High players had a lot of experience with and against
many of this year’s opponents during their youth hockey days in
Bethlehem, Troy and Clifton Park (Gallagher proudly still wears the hat
from his Bethlehem Youth Hockey team’s 2015 state championship).
But when their peers from other communities
got to high school they had school teams to play for; Albany High does
not offer hockey among its 14 varsity sports.
“When I was little I always wanted to play
high school hockey, and I was worried we weren’t going to have it,”
The opportunity came together when Director of Health,
Physical Education and Athletics Kathy Ryan began investigating the
possibility of Albany High student-athletes joining another area team.
She had help from Bethlehem varsity hockey coach Dylan Lappe, who also
is an elementary physical education teacher and assistant lacrosse coach
Ryan eventually made the connection with
Niskayuna-Schenectady to give Albany High’s student-athletes one more
“It’s all part of our cultural awareness in
this district to try and include as many interests and opportunities for
our students as we are able to,” Ryan said. “This has been a great
addition to our winter athletics offerings.”
The Mohawks finished the regular season
2-17-1 after a loss Feb. 13 at Bethlehem, one of the top teams in the
state. But seven of those losses were by one or two goals, and you’ll
get nothing but smiles when talking with the three players about their
For Gallagher, the biggest moment was his
second-period goal that tied the Mohawks’ game against Shenendehowa on
For Trippany, it was the one shift when he
singlehandedly erased a 2-0 deficit against Oswego on Dec. 16.
For Eligberg, it was his goal in the
season-opener Nov. 28 against Bethlehem, a talented team that includes
many friends Eligberg played with in youth hockey.
And for all three, it was memorable just for
the chance to play the game they love in high school. They are all
looking forward to next season – with an even larger group of Albany
High student-athletes joining them, they hope.
“It didn’t end up the way I wanted it to,”
Trippany said, “but it was hockey!”
The mission of
the City School District of Albany is
to work in partnership with our diverse community to engage every
learner in a robust educational program designed to provide the
knowledge and skills necessary for success. The district
nearly 9,700 students in 18 elementary, middle and high schools. In
addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet
schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities
for students, including four themed academies
at Albany High School.