Surf’s up

As the snow continues to fall in Western New York, it is becoming apparent that the long-hard Buffalo winters are back. For a few years, Buffalo lucked out and had a mild start to winter. But, this year, seems different.

So, it’s only nature to have your mind wander to warmer places. Thinking of warmer things to do. It’s always talk about in August about the Dog Days of Summer. But, the winter is just as brutal. It seems to go on forever and forever, with no end in sight.

That’s why thinking of the fun and sun is so important as this time of the year, Nothing better than thinking about the Florida beaches where it’s 80 degrees and the surf is ready for the taking. That’s right, the surf.

You don’t hear often about people saying they want to take up surfing – at least in the Northeast. The people in the Northeast are more built for the harsh winters and cold ice rinks. Hockey is the number one sport – or at least close to it – in these parts.

The only time someone will see the water is during the summer, but I’m thinking Lake Erie doesn’t have the surf some our looking for. If you haven’t watched surfing before you don’t know what you are missing. It is a pretty fun, and dangerous, sport to watch and try.

You never know what they option is going to bring you on a given day, or even hour. That’s why people are probably drawn to it. It’s the unexpected. It’s the unknown.

When she isn’t dominating opposing teams on the ice, Nichols School hockey player Ciara Barone has her mind set on learning something knew. The soon to be Providence College hockey player always wanted to try her luck on the board.

Just her, the board and the ocean.

“If I could do any other sport, it would be surfing,” explained Baron. “I have always dreamed of learning to surf and when I get out of college, I plan to check surfing off of my bucket list. I would like to do this because not a lot of people know how to do it, it requires a lot of skill and I love the ocean.”

As for right now, however, Barone will have to leave the board in the garage – which is bad news for those who play against her on the ice. Opposing teams and players would probably like it if she took up surfing now. It would get her off the ice where she is a dominating force.

Barone’s four years at Nichols have been nothing spectualar. Ever since she stepped on the Nichols campus you knew she was going to be. And, she hasn’t disappointed one it. She has been the goal scorer that former Nichols coach Scott Welch had envisioned she would be when she made the team.

But, it’s not just about putting the puck the in the net for Barone. Sure she loves to light the lamp whenever possible, but it’s also about being the complete player.A player that is hard to defend because she can either score or dish the puck to a teammates.

“I love scoring goals, it's the greatest feeling in the world. but I also love making a great play, passing the puck to my teammate and watching them get just as happy as I do,” stated Barone. My offensive game is composed of speed and quick hands. I’ve tried to improve my defensive skills by blocking shots and back checking whenever the other team gets a rush. I think my game is fast and tough.”

Fast and tough is a great way to describe Barone. She is the type of player that doesn’t mind getting dirty in the corners or in front of the net. Barone also has the speed to get things done off the rush.

That type of playing making ability is what drew Providence College to her. They see a talent and one that could contribute right away on the ice. It also ended a grueling recruiting process for Barone.

Wanting to play college hockey since she was a child, Barone was getting a little tired of the recruiting process – and was glad it finally came to and end.

“Up until I visited Providence, the recruiting process was tough. Coaches would be interested one day, and not like me the next. It was very frustrating at times because coaches like to play games,” stated Barone. “I think it would be nice if the coaches were more straight forward instead of leading you on. If I could change something it would be to have the answer, whether it's the one you wanted or not, so you can move on to a different school and not have to think about the school that didn't have the answers.”

When walking on to the campus of Providence College, Barone knew the answer right away. There was something about the campus that drew Barone the minute she saw it. Maybe it’s the fact that it is located in Rhode Island. Maybe it was just how she was treated from the second she got there.

Whatever the reason is, it just felt like home.

“As soon as I stepped foot on the campus at Providence I knew that's where I belonged. After a long hard college process, I was fed up and Providence was my last visit,” explained Barone. “I didn't think anything good would come out of the visit, but I quickly realized Providence was a bigger version of Nichols. I had that feeling where I knew this is where I was destined to be. I love everything about the school from the coaches to the facilities, it's a perfect fit for me.”

It seems it is a match made in heaven. A bigger version of Nichols will suit Barone just fine. She is already familiar with what Nichols brings on a daily basis, with both athletics and academics. She knows she will have to work just as hard at Providence as she has done during her time at Nichols.

She also knows how important academics are. Everyone who plays college sports thinks they have a shot at the next level – and some do. But, for most, it’s more about using hockey (in this case) to get a free education.

“Education is the most important thing. If hockey doesn't work out, education always will. The education you get will determine the career you have and that career will make your life great, or make your life miserable,” stated Barone. Going to school will help you get a great job and live a great live. without an education, it’s rare to get a great job, so it's important to put education before anything else.”

And when her hockey career is finally over, don’t be surprised to see her on that board catching some waves and hanging 10. Knowing her she will attack those waves like she attacks everything else.

The ocean better be afraid.