Men’s hockey players transition to life at UVM with teammates


Men's hockey lines up for the national anthem before a game at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
[/media-credit] Men’s hockey lines up for the national anthem before a game at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Hockey players at UVM usually have an easier time transitioning to life away from home than the average student — they are used to it.

Nearly all Division I college hockey players are recruited from either preparatory schools or junior teams.  Every player on the men’s hockey team this year played in a junior league prior to coming to Burlington, and many played on preparatory school teams before that.

First-year defenseman Mike Lee lives in Patterson Hall with fellow first-year forward Craig Puffer. Both are originally from Connecticut.  “When I showed up I wasn’t worried about being homesick,” Lee said.

The men’s hockey program had an early off-season program this year that gave Lee a chance to get to know his roommate, which he said helped the transition. First-year goaltender Patrick Munson is from Minnesota, but spent his junior career playing in Fairbanks, Alaska.

He, like many junior players, was taken in by a billet family, a family that is paid to house a player, usually by the team or league.  Usually this process is arranged by coaches and other staff.

“It was a great life experience and I really loved it,” Munson said. Munson now lives on campus with first-year defenseman Jake Kearley.  As for dorm life, Munson said, “It’s fine, it’s something you’ve got to do.” He did miss “having my own room, a house and a family to be with.”

Senior forward Jonathan Turk lived with three billet families throughout his junior career who he said  were “all amazing people and welcomed me into their homes with open arms.”  He now lives off campus with senior Yvan Pattyn and juniors Mario Puskarich and Brendan Bradley, all teammates.

Turk said they “spend way too much time together and get on each other’s nerves,” but embraces the fact he gets to live with three of his closest friends. Senior defenseman Alexx Privitera lives in the lofts with sophomore Rob Darrar, and his brother Jarrid.

The unique thing about living the hockey life at UVM is a lot of time is spent away from UVM. All of these guys have their roommate habits. Munson needs the TV on to sleep, he said. Lee and Alexx Privitera are both self-proclaimed night owls.

“Road trips are great because the team can bond a lot more. You spend countless hours on the bus together and room with someone you don’t see outside of the rink every day,” Alexx Privitera said.  The team has already been to both Minnesota and Massachusetts this year.

Lee agreed that road trips were a great time to bond, and said “the team dinners” are his favorite part.  However, the young players need to watch out for “a shoe check.” Lee explained it’s a team tradition that “when the team is out to dinner and a teammate puts some ketchup on your shoe without you noticing then you have to get up and sing in front of the whole restaurant.”