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Syracuse Orange Practice With Squirts Team at the OnCenter

By Isabella Apple

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- After their big win against Buffalo this past weekend some of the Orange spent their off-day back on the ice.

Rookies John Coggiola, Mackenzie Murphy, Matt Zarb, and Nik Manousos joined the Syracuse Blazers at practice Monday night after the Blazers joined Syracuse at Tennity Ice Pavillion as a part of their second youth game of the season.

Coggiola, who grew up in the Syracuse area, finds it extremely rewarding to be able to give back to his community.

“Going to the youth practice made me remember all the good experiences I had playing hockey around the area. I’m happy to do anything for the kids in order to help the community that I was raised in.” Said the freshman forward.

The boys were able to play coach for the night, helping the youth coaches run practice, participating in drills and even scrimmaging with the young skaters.

Goalie Nik Manousos who got his first start - and win - in front of the Blazers on Sunday felt lucky to help some local kids’ game.

“Giving back to the community is great. It’s really nice to see how happy the kids are and humbling to get back to the essence of the game.” Said the netminder. “Being able to have fun with the kids while also giving them some gentle direction is really rewarding.”

After practice, the Syracuse boys were met with a line of squirts asking for them to sign anything and everything from practice jerseys to shoes and AirPods cases.

Director of Operations Bridget Essing knows the kids idolize the Orange athletes and appreciates the chance to make this practice special for the kids.

“The players have a great time being a coach for the day and signing autographs and the kids love interacting with SU players so it’s a win-win!” The sophomore said. “It’s also a great way to unite the hockey in the area and give back to the fans that support us.”

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