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Alumni Interview – #98 Connor Dragone ’12

Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 12:06 PM / Uncategorized


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Meet Your Alumni

Throughout the summer and into the ’15-’16 we’ll be showcasing Rider Hockey alumni and what they’ve been doing since graduation.  Follow us on Twitter at @RiderHockey & Instagram at “Ridericehoceky”.  Please sent any questions or Riderhockey@gmail.com

 

Name: Connor Dragone

Graduation Year: 2012

Major: Marketing and Entrepreneurial Studies

Employment: Market Development Associate with Gatorade

 

  • What is your fondest memory during your time as a Rider Bronc?

My fondest memory as a Rider Bronc would have to be the overnight trips we took during our season. In my 4 seasons, we went to Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, and Boston. Each trip was an awesome experience because you were able to really grow together as a team while playing against competition we would not have normally seen. The Boston trip was especially memorable because we played at Harvard University, which had an incredible rink.  Throughout the course of my four years at Rider, I enjoyed all of the opportunities I had to bond with my teammates.

  • If you can recall, what factors lead you to attending Rider University to pursue your education and continue your ice hockey career?

Initially, I had intended to go to college at Rutgers.  However, my senior year in high school, an old teammate of mine, Brenden Hellyer, invited me to come visit Rider and practice with the team. I decided it was worth a shot, so I went to a weeknight practice and got to skate with the team. The opportunity gave me an insight into how the team was run. I was able to meet the coaches, and it gave me hope that I could join the team and help in making my freshman year a successful season. The education at Rider was an easy selling point for me. Although Rider is a small school, the academic programs are well developed. They are becoming even more popular as Rider becomes more recognizable on a National level. When you combine Rider’s excellent academia, a competitive hockey program, and the fact that I already had a few friends on the team, it made for an easy decision upon being acceptance to the Univeristy.

  • What advice would you give prospective student-athletes who are considering Rider University?

I had to give any prospective students advice, I would encourage them to visit as many schools as possible before making their decision. It’s so important to get a feel for what you like and dislike about particular campuses and schools. Speaking specifically about Rider, decide what path you want to focus on academically and make sure to use the admissions office as a resource. They can help connect you with current students in those fields. They can set you up with a tour of the campus, and even assign you a mentor for a day so that you can get a feel for a typical day in the life of a Rider student. As for the athletic side of the experience, get in contact with Coach Levin. He will be helpful in facilitating an open discussion about your expectations for playing at Rider as well as his expectations for you from a coach’s standpoint. Watching a practice is also a great way to get the feel for the program. This will give you the opportunity to see how the players interact with one another as well as the coaching staff. Anyone can go watch a game from the stands, but it’s the practices where you get to witness everything that is being built behind the scenes and that is what I enjoyed most.

  • What advice would you give current Rider student-athletes (both on and off the ice advice)?

Make the most of your four years at Rider. Get as involved as possible, network as much as possible, and have as much fun as possible. Everyone says four years go by fast, and believe me they do. Make sure you enjoy your time in college, but make sure you are mindful that your main goal is to set yourself up for future success after graduation.

  • How do you feel the level of competition was at the collegiate level?

The level of competition was fantastic. We felt like we were competing against top ranked universities in our division. Although it is club hockey, we still went up against some of the best players in our area and were able to test ourselves every weekend. The coaches did a fantastic job of trying to locate the teams that were doing especially well and were able to schedule games to test our program against other successful institutes.

  • Have you remained in the hockey community upon graduation?  Adult leagues? Coaching? Referring?

I have remained in the hockey community by playing in adult league in Wall, NJ. I still play with former Rider University players on this team, which makes this league even better. I think hockey is different from other sports because guys really enjoy playing and continue to do so well into their fifties.

  • What did you consider the biggest rivalry game in your hockey career while at Rider?

TCNJ was always a huge game for us because of how close the two campuses are to one another. Additionally, I loved playing games against Rowan University. In my four years at Rider, they were consistently a school that matched our level of talent. This always made for a great game. I remember playing a game late in the season at their home rink my senior year. The stands were packed with fans from both schools, which brought a high energy level to the rink. We walked out with a huge 4-2 victory and it was one of the most exciting games I remember playing.

  • How has playing hockey helped you as a professional?

Hockey has helped me professionally because I believe playing hockey instills a sense of hard work and dedication. All of my closest friends are ice hockey players and it seems like we are a group that works hard to succeed in our professional fields. Hockey is a rigorous sport that takes determination and effort in order to be successful. These traits are imperative in achieving real world success and I think being committed to the sport helps in a seamless transition.

  • Did you have a pre-game ritual before games?  If so, what was it?

I had two pre game rituals before games that both took place during warm ups. Before every game we always did a 3 line slap shot warm up for the goalies. I would stand in the corner and pass the pucks up to the lines to keep the drill flowing. The second was my position when they announced the starting line ups and played the National Anthem. I stood in the far right corner on the goal line along the boards during this time. I have no idea how or why either of these rituals started, but they lasted all four years!

  • If you could give a pre-game message to the current team, what would it be?

Enjoy every second on the ice, play like it’s your last shift, and play for the guys next to you!