(INDIANAPOLIS, IN – September 11, 2020) – Goaltender Richie Parent has become the first Tri-State Spartan alumnus to commit to play college hockey. Parent will play for the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego this upcoming season. He was one of the original goalies in the first year of the program.
In the 2017-18 season, Parent played for the Tri-State Spartans 18U AAA team. He then went on to guard the crease for the Shreveport Mudbugs in the NAHL where he set a franchise record for consecutive wins at eight. When he joined the Spartans, it was a first year program, but he knew that it would provide a tremendous opportunity to develop as a person and an athlete.
“After going to the tryout, I got to meet some of the players and coach Austin,” said Parent. “Everyone was so nice, and I liked the area. I knew it was a team that would help me develop and get better. It was great because it helped us balance our schoolwork while also getting on the ice. We had dedicated trainers and workout spaces along with tutors to help us study. That’s what I liked when I was there.”
Greg Austin, Director of Hockey-Operation as Total Package Hockey (TPH) in Indianapolis, was honest with Parent when coming to a first-year program. It was about development and ice time, not necessarily wins and losses.
“He recognized that coming to a first-year program was an opportunity for him to face a lot of shots,” said Austin on Parent. “Most first year teams, if you have to be strong, it’ll be between the pipes. It makes it easier to recruit like that. You can promise them that they’ll get lots of shots. When you’re a development guy, you want to be on the ice facing shots. I was honest with him when I recruited him. We had three goaltenders that year, and all three could play. He wasn’t big, but he’s very athletic, good laterally and read the puck well.”
Parent was only able to spend one season in Indianapolis as he aged out of the program, but that one year saw a huge improvement in his skills.
“Towards the end of the season, we really started to see him separate,” said Austin. “He went and trained with the Mudbugs as well and proved his worth. He matured immensely with the experiences he had here. It’s difficult to play on a losing team, but as a goaltender, he found ways to make positives out of negatives. He was a good teammate, and left with a skillset that I think was improved. It was a lot about him in that he worked hard and saw the opportunity.”
The Center of Excellence offers a good balance between academics and athletics. What stood out to Parent was the opportunity to be on the ice and improve.
“The biggest thing about that program is being on the ice all the time,” said Parent. “We’d have a skill skate in the morning and a practice in the afternoon. I had a lot of ice time to develop, and that was huge in helping me get to the next level.”
Austin recognized that the balance and ability to be on the ice twice a day is what opened more opportunities for Parent.
“We’re trying to be a program that implements study, train, play at the Center of Excellence level, which has a lot to do with why Richie got as good as he did,” said Austin. “He was on the ice twice a day. We focus on development, not wins and losses. We focus on individual player development, then it’s up to the student-athlete to embrace that with their own passion for the game. Richie has been one of those success stories, and we’re really proud of him.”
While the college hockey season is currently postponed, Parent is still thrilled at the opportunity to play. He’s enjoying the college life and just hopes that more student-athletes can have the experience that he’s had while developing. As for the future, once Parent has completed his time in college, he hopes to play the sport he loves professionally.
“I’m extremely grateful for every opportunity I’ve had,” said Parent. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do as a little kid. Being able to live the life and be able to play college hockey is just awesome. I hope that every kid that wants this experience gets it. As of right now, I just want to start my season whenever we can and take it year by year. I want to be the best I can be with where I’m at. My goal is to hopefully play pro hockey after my four years at Oswego.”
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