Freshman Feature: Anthony Angello
Size: 6-foot-5, 205 pounds
Hometown: Manlius, NY
Drafted by: Pittsburgh Penguins, 5th round (145th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft
Virginia Norder: Thank you so much for talking with us today. First off, how did you choose Cornell?
Anthony Angello: I chose Cornell for a few reasons. One, I got to see games growing up as a kid and I absolutely loved the atmosphere of Lynah and the student section. I got this vibe on campus when I got here, that this is where I want to be. My visit and the connection I had with the coaches were unbelievable and I met some of the players. A few of them went out of their way to talk to me right away and would give me a quick view of what it’s like here and what to expect and things like wildlife nature.
VN: You like it so far?
AA: Yes. I absolutely love it. I also picked Cornell not just from the hockey standpoint, but for the academic perks. I’ve always valued my grades growing up as a kid and it made my mom happy when I could play hockey and go to a good school as well.
VN: That’s the best of both worlds. You grew up about an hour away from here and you went to Cornell games growing up. Were there any players that you looked up to? Like, Cornell players?
AA: Let’s see. I remember going to so many games. I always loved watching Greg Miller. He was a great player to watch. I liked watching Brian Ferlin. He was another great one. He was the one that wore my number before I did and that’s why I picked my number. Let’s see. I also loved watching Andy Iles, Joakim Ryan as well.
VN: Are there any other players, not just Cornell players? Players you look up to.
AA: What do you mean? From a college standpoint or from…?
VN: College, pro, even like high school players growing up that were older than you.
AA: Let’s see. When I was really, really young, like still playing youth hockey, I looked up to Tim Connolly because he was from Baldwinsville as well. His parents lived right next door to one of my really good friends’ houses. He was around every now and again. I also loved watching Sidney Crosby.
VN: For your sophomore and junior years in high school, you played in both junior hockey and high school hockey, right?
AA: That’s correct.
VN: Did you do the same in freshman year?
AA: I did not.
VN: Just high school hockey?
AA: I just played – I didn’t play high school hockey. It was association hockey.
VN: How did you manage playing both juniors and high school at once?
AA: It was a pretty tough adjustment at first. I’d go to class from 7:45 until 2:30 and jump on a bus around 2:30 and would be at the rink at 3:00 and I’d have a high school practice from like 3:30 to 4:30 and then junior practice right after that. I got home from the rink after junior practice around 7:00 or 8:00. Then I knocked out some homework and did it all again the next day. It was pretty tiring, I guess, overall.
VN: You did that during your sophomore and junior years but then in your senior year, you played with the Lancers.
AA: That’s correct.
VN: Did you regret not playing your senior year of high school hockey?
AA: I don’t think “regret” is the right word. Did I miss playing? For sure, but I knew that playing for the Lancers was a step I needed to take forward for my hockey career.
VN: Overall, would you say you liked your experience in juniors?
AA: I would say I loved my experience in juniors. I think it was really cool. Being able to live way from home for two years definitely helped to ease the transition into college.
VN: A lot of you hockey guys were away from home for a while before coming to college.
AA: For sure.
Me: So this – college – isn’t a big deal to you?
VN: Was it hard leaving home at a young age?
AA: I think it was hard for the first two or three months. I was actually one of the later kids. I mean, a lot of kids leave at like 14 and 15 years old, some even at 13. Which is tough, because you don’t get the same experience you would if you’ve lived at home. I was homesick for the first two or three months. I want to say it was an adjustment. You have to kind of fend for yourself. Your parents weren’t always around to help you out. They were always a phone call away but it was definitely an adjustment, but by Christmas time I was good to go.
VN: Was that a conscious decision you made to stay home longer instead of going at a younger age?
AA: Yes. I was talking to my parents. It was just one of those things that we decided it’ll be better to stay home and study for the standardized tests like the SAT and ACT and really put an emphasis on those. I think studying from home definitely helped me out in regards to the score I got. Because if I left for juniors, I don’t think I would have placed much time and effort into it (the standardized tests).
VN: Now that you’re here, what are your expectations for the season?
AA: Going in, Coach Schafer’s been talking about how he wants to restore the Cornell hockey tradition, and to do that the whole team needs to be bought in one hundred percent. Everybody needs to be fully committed. Now, we’re all here for education and to get better as hockey players but we’re also here to win. One of my big expectations is to not only win the ECAC but also make it to the playoffs and go as far as we can go.
VN: That’s awesome. That kind of leads into the next question. How does the team look and how do you think you guys will do?
AA: I think the team looks really, really good. We’ve been training hard all season. We’ve had 6:30 A.M.’s and we’ve been skating and training extremely hard. I think the older guys have done a really great job of taking the younger guys under their wings and making sure that we assimilate and fit in and are not left out to dry which helps the camaraderie part. It makes us tighter as a whole. We have a really close group of guys and I think in the end, that’s going to allow us to have a lot of success.
VN: Awesome. You were drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Are you excited? How have you been preparing for training camp and stuff like that?
AA: Yes, that was a big day for me. Each summer, there’s a development camp that’s roughly a week long. You go in and you get to know all the faculty and then in the second year and the years that go after, you get to go and just basically keep training there and learn new things, meet new people. We train in their facilities and use their weight rooms. It’s one of my motivators because I just keep it in the back of my mind saying there’s not only a thousand other kids that want to be where I am but I think there’s two types of people in the world, you’re either getting passed or you’re passing people. I always want to take that route where I’m always getting better and trying to do whatever I can to make it to the next level.
VN: One more question. How long have you played hockey?
AA: Since I was a kid. I was two. That’s when I was on the ice for the first time and I started playing hockey when I was four.
Brandon Thomas, Athletic Communications: True story. You’ve been on Lynah ice before.
VN: When did that happen?
AA: I want to say my junior year of high school.
VN: You played a game here?
AA: Yes. It was lots of fun. It was really cool. We were at the red line and there was a guy I tried to just bump against the board. It is so different playing high school hockey compared to juniors. The guy just whapped against the board. Not like I intended. I got a ten-minute major. All the Cornell coaches were right there watching. Everybody was smirking. I was like, “That’s perfect.”
VN: Perfect. Thank you very much.
AA: Awesome. Thank you.