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Ice hockey team faces challenges on and off the ice

By Linda Thrasybule

The sun is setting over the parking lot at St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx. Members of the school’s ice hockey team, the Ravens, climb aboard a small bus, cramming in all their bulky bags and hockey sticks as they head out to Flushing Meadow Park in Queens to the Ice World Arena rink.

“Damn, it’s cold!” said one of the players as he boarded the bus on a frigid Tuesday night.

It’s a critical moment for the Ravens. They have lost 11 games and won 3. The team only has two games left in the season, and on top of everything else, they only get to practice once a week at the rink.

The rate is $400 per hour to use the rink, a hefty sum for a team that only gets funding from the school’s alumni.  “It usually costs about $785 just to use the rink,” said Pat Scanlon, the head coach.

The Ravens are made up of 14 kids who play a sport that is not widely popular in the Bronx.  They are mostly black and Latino kids who don’t get to see a lot of professional hockey players who look like them (according to a CNN report there are about 20 black players in the National Hockey League). The team also doesn’t have a lot of resources.

“For each of our players, it costs about $1,000 to $1,300 to get them gear, skates and hockey sticks,” said Jonathan Dry, assistant coach of the St. Raymond Ravens of St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx.

But the team does have Coach Dry. Part Puerto Rican and part African American, he has been assistant coach for the Ravens for two years. A graduate of St. Raymond High School for Boys in 2006, he decided to return to help out the team. He recently took the New York Police Department exam and is waiting for the results.

“This season’s been rough,” said Dry. “We lost great skaters who graduated, which took a toll on the team. We’re trying to work with them on their stick handling and endurance.”

St. Raymond plans to recruit more players for next season through the Hockey in Harlem program, a non-profit community organization that uses hockey to promote academic achievement and encourage teamwork. They also hope to recruit players through word of mouth.

“I came to play basketball at St. Raymond,” said Tevin Bazemore, 16, a junior who has been playing with the team since his freshman year. “But I fell in love with hockey.”

Bazemore heard about the team through a friend. He didn’t know how to skate, but with the help of the coaches and lots of practice at the Bryant Park rink, he was able to play on the team. “It’s just different,” he said. “I really like the fast pace and the speed. The team gets along really well. We argue just like any other team, but we’re family.”

He isn’t the only one who feels that way. Goaltender Aj Indiviglia, 17, a senior, will be leaving the team this year once he graduates. He hopes to play ice hockey once he goes to college. “I’m going to miss the guys,” he said. “We formed a good relationship as a team.”

Dry, 22, who grew up in Manhattan, heard about hockey from a classmate in the third grade. He started watching it on TV and was hooked. “I liked the speed,” he said. “I thought it was really exciting, and it got my attention. I especially liked that it was so physical.”

Dry’s parents signed him up with Hockey in Harlem. Through the program, he was able to go to hockey camps in Canada and Detroit. He was also able to get a hockey scholarship at St. Raymond high school. Now he wants to give back and get other kids excited about hockey.

For next season, the Ravens will need a new goaltender. “I hope we can get more kids who play hockey to come to the school,” Dry said.

Around 11 players are circling the rink, warming up to start practicing their drills on ice. Outside the freezing rain has coated the pavement with slush and ice and the roads have become treacherous, but that doesn’t stop the Ravens from playing a sport they love.

“All victories aren’t on the scoreboard,” said Pat Scanlon, the head coach. “Even though we’re losing games, the interest is still there. That’s where the real victory is.”

Click below to see more photos of the team.


Picture 1 of 11

Members of the St. Raymond Ravens load the bus with equipment before they head off to Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, for practice. (Photo by: Linda Thrasybule)

2 Responses to “Ice hockey team faces challenges on and off the ice”

  1. avatar Aj Indiviglia says:

    Im the Goalie for the Ravens, I can honestly say that me and the boys have strong hearts and amazing willpower. Each and every game the team treats it like its our last. A lot of great teams lack just that, I am proud and honored to to skate on the ice with the guys.
    – Aj Indiviglia ’11
    Ravens Goaltender

  2. avatar philip barbone says:



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