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PROVING GROUND: Junior Bruins forward...

[CATZneedham Athlete] Kyle Nickerson aims to ‘Prove People Wrong’

By Stephen Harris
Thursday, October 11, 2012

When four area high school students came up with the inspirational slogan, “Prove People Wrong,” a couple of years ago, it wasn’t just a brilliant entrepreneurial plan that they hope will earn them millions — though that would be nice — but a philosophy that applies to all walks of life.

These were four high school seniors who’d been told by many that they weren’t good enough hockey players, or weren’t big enough, to play at a higher level.

But those critics have been proven wrong by all four players, including Weston’s Kyle Nickerson, a 19-year-old center on the Boston Junior Bruins [team stats] of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, who will play next season at Dartmouth.

“That’s how it started, the four of us just wanting to get somewhere hockey-wise,” said Nickerson. “But then we all realized this is a life message than anyone can relate to.

“It’s about defying the odds after someone tells you you can’t do something. I was a smaller guy playing D-3 hockey in high school and I ended up making the jump to (NCAA Division 1). Everyone was saying about me, ‘Oh, he’s too small to make it.’

“So Prove People Wrong is kind of a motivational thing. It should fuel your fire a little bit whenever somebody tells you you can’t do something. It’s really true in this sport, but it also relates to all sorts of different things in life.”

The PPW message is presented on a line of clothing (available at its creators hope will catch fire as did the now-ubiquitous slogan, “Life Is Good.”

“That’s kind of our model,” said Nickerson. “Although we kind of think Prove People Wrong has a little more oomph to it than Life Is Good.”

No doubting Thomas

The four youngsters — Nickerson, Charlie Ackerman (now playing in the USHL and headed next year to the University of Maine), Cam Brown (USHL) and Jack Brewer (playing at Trinity College) — got an early break when they managed to interest Bruins goalie Tim Thomas [stats] in their idea.

“We had a friend whose father was a cop and he was going to be on one of the duck boats during the (B’s 2011 Stanley Cup) parade,” said Nickerson. “We put together a little grocery bag — a couple of t-shirts, a couple of wrist bands and a hand-written letter. Our friend’s father ended up giving it to (NESN’s) Andy Brickley, and Andy got it into Tim Thomas’ hockey bag.

“So then we got a call from Tim’s agent, who said Tim had gone to skate, pulled out this bag and loved the idea. He said he wanted to get in touch with us and help us out.”

And now, with Thomas and many other Bruins seemingly wearing the gear, the PPW line is steadily growing.

“It’s going really well, slowly but surely spreading and getting bigger,” said Nickerson. “You see kids all over the place wearing the stuff, which is really cool.”

EJHL a perfect fit

As for the original point — playing hockey — the quick and crafty Nickerson, now 5-foot-9 and 168 pounds, has gotten better and better.

“He was kind of a late bloomer,” said Jr. Bruins [team stats] coach Peter Masters. “He’s got great hands, good speed and super vision. He’s got a pretty good scoring touch. He’s a captain and leader, a great student and a super kid.

“Last year he was a third-line guy for us; this year he’s first-line center, first power play, first everything. He’s come out of the gate with 17 points in our first seven games. He’s really flying.”

Nickerson is a big supporter of the EJHL, and its ability to help young players land college deals — and, in many cases, prove people wrong.

“Every game you see lots and lots of scouts in the stands,” said Nickerson. “At the big showcases, the stands are packed with them. So it’s a really big feeder for colleges. A lot of guys come here expecting to move up to the next level and it’s definitely a good choice.”

Although Brown and Ackerman (Sioux City) opted to play in the USHL, Nickerson is glad he stayed home.

“The USHL was never an option as far I was concerned,” he said. “A few of my friends are out there now and they say they’re having a blast. But seeing them leave home, that definitely had to be upsetting for them and their families.

“I wanted to stay here. I live 30 minutes from the rink and I can drive here every day. Living at home is a big plus. This is perfect for me.”

And if he and his pals strike it rich on Prove People Wrong, well, then life is very good indeed.

Players turned coaches relishing their opportunity

Breakers spending time on the sidelines with local teams

A handful of Breakers have spent the better part of the offseason still on the soccer field, remaining active in the game. But they’re not exactly on the field themselves. They’re coaching college, high school, youth, and club teams in the greater Boston area.

“As an organization, we are thrilled to have Boston Breakers players coaching in local communities,” General Manager Lee Billiard said. “We are not only focused on our professional athletes competing on the field, but we are focused on educating young soccer players and making a strong footprint building grass roots soccer in Massachusetts.”

The players who are coaching here in Boston, include the Breakers’ Boston University trio of keeper Alice Binns, who serves as the junior varsity coach at Weston High School, defender Katherine Donnelly, who is coaching with Acton Boxboro Youth Soccer, and forward Jess Luscinski, who pulls double duty, working as an assistant coach at Framingham State University and also coaching with Newton Girls Soccer.

“So far, coaching with Framingham State this fall has been an amazing experience. Being on the coaching side of the game rather than being a player has been a new experience for me, and I have been able to learn so much in these past few months that has helped make me a better player,” Luscinski said. “My job has been made so easy with this team. They are all eager to learn as much as they can, and all have a love for the game that makes it enjoyable to go to training every day. And, I have honestly been able to learn so much from them as well. The team is looking to be competitive to be one of the teams in the running for a good position for playoffs.”

Luscinski also enjoys coaching the younger kids over in Newton.

“The coaching for Newton Girls Soccer has been really enjoyable as well,” she said. “I’ve been coaching with a U12 team, and I did a session with a U9 team, and it’s refreshing to see a group of young girls truly love just playing soccer. It’s a great privilege to be able to give back to these youth programs, which these girls are the future of this sport, and help these girls develop an understanding and love for the game.”

Midfielder Heather O’Reilly, when not playing and training with the U.S. Women’s National Team during its Fan Tribute Tour this fall, has helped out as an assistant coach at Northeastern University. Midfielder Bianca D’Agostino can be found coaching Newton Girls Soccer. And, forward Katie Schoepfer is coaching in Acton-Boxboro with the U10 girls’ Strikers United team.

“So far, we are undefeated. I have a lot of fun coaching these girls. Sometimes they can be a handful when all they want to do is talk about how much cooler One Direction is than Justin Bieber, but it has been great to watch them grow as soccer players, and know that I had something to do with it,’ Schoepfer. “My favorite part of coaching them is when I teach them a concept, then I see them using what I taught them in a game situation. I have tried to teach them the importance of keeping possession, passing to feet, and we try and score off crosses as much as possible. I emphasize just having fun and not worrying about the score, and they continue to learn and show a great passion for the game. They have exceeded all of my expectations in terms of their talent and work ethic. I am like a proud mom when I talk about these girls because I have never been more proud of a team that I have been involved with in a coaching role.”

Donnelly has also been coaching for a Strikers United boys team team in Acton and for 5- and 6-year-olds in Newton Girls Soccer, along with D’Agostino.

“It’s been great so far and definitely a new experience for me because I have been coaching boys,” Donnelly said. “Coaching the 5- and 6-year-olds with Bianca is so fun. It’s great for me to be able to experience the difference between coaching boys half the week and girls the other half. There are different things both want to learn. I like being able to teach the little girls the very basics and see how excited they are just to play and kick the ball around. It’s also rewarding for me to be able to teach the boys the techniques that I have learned growing up and seeing how happy they are when everything comes together. So the fall season for both teams have been great so far, and I’m and looking forward to the winter.”

U.S. Rosters Set for Intra-Squad Scrimmage at Capital Classic

John Jiloty October 2nd, 20125

Drew Adams will be one of four goalies in the U.S. Team’s intra-squad scrimmage Sunday at the Capital Lacrosse Classic. (Photo by Ron Chenoy)
 The U.S. Team will conduct an intra-squad scrimmage Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Capital Lacrosse Classic at Landon School.

This is the latest step for the U.S. Team as it prepares for tryouts next summer before the 2014 FIL World Championships in Denver. The team scrimmaged Team Canada at the Duel in Denver in early September, falling to the Canadians behind a four-goal performance fromCurtis Dickson and stellar goaltending.

Team USA came away with some points to work on, and Sunday’s Capital Lacrosse Classic scrimmage will be the first step in that process, leading up to the Champion Challenge Jan. 25-27 in Orlando, Fla., when the defending gold medalists will scrimmage at least one NCAA team.

Here’s the roster for Sunday’s intra-squad scrimmage. Check out’s full Fallball Schedule here, and be sure to check back for photos, analysis and video throughout the month.

Billy Bitter      North Carolina ’11      Rochester Rattlers
Ryan Boyle      Princeton ’04      Boston Cannons
Jim Connolly      Massachusetts ’09      Ohio Machine
Ned Crotty     Duke ’10      Rochester Rattlers
Matt Danowski     Duke ’08      Charlotte Hounds
Ian Dingman     Navy ’07      none
Kevin Leveille     Massachusetts ’03      Rochester Rattlers
Rob Pannell     Cornell ’13      none*
Steele Stanwick     Virginia ’12      Ohio Machine
Chazz Woodson     Brown ’05      Ohio Machine

Matt Abbott     Syracuse ’09      Chesapeake Bayhawks
Steven Brooks     Syracuse ’08      Chesapeake Bayhawks
Ben Hunt     North Carolina ’09      Chesapeake Bayhawks
Terry Kimener     UMBC ’08      Denver Outlaws
Michael Kimmel     Johns Hopkins ’10      Chesapeake Bayhawks
Roy Lang     Cornell ’12      Ohio Machine
Cameron Lao-Gosney     Lehigh ’12      Hamilton Nationals
Roman Lao-Gosney     Lehigh ’12      Hamilton Nationals
Stephen Peyser     Johns Hopkins ’08      Long Island Lizards
Peet Poillon     UMBC ’09      Charlotte Hounds
Brendan Porter     Rutgers ’10      LXM Pro Tour
Brad Ross     Duke ’08      Rochester Rattlers
Rob Rotanz     Duke ’12      Rochester Rattlers
Chris Schiller     Penn State ’99      none
Max Seibald     Cornell ’09      Long Island Lizards
Jeremy Sieverts     Maryland ’09      Denver Outlaws
Mike Stone     Middlebury ’09      Boston Cannons – CATZneedham Athlete
Matt Striebel     Princeton ’01      Rochester Rattlers
Justin Turri     Duke ’12      Charlotte Hounds
Kevin Unterstein     Hofstra ’08      Long Island Lizards
Julian Watts     Hofstra ’07      Long Island Lizards

Greg Gurenlian    Penn State ’06 Long Island Lizards
Adam Rand     Stony Brook ’11      Chesapeake Bayhawks
Stephen Robarge     VMI ’12      Denver Outlaws
Alex Smith     Delaware ’07      Chesapeake Bayhawks

Mitch Belisle     Cornell ’07      Boston Cannons
Michael Evans     Johns Hopkins ’09      Chesapeake Bayhawks
Brian Farrell     Maryland ’11      Boston Cannons
Tim Henderson     Army ’12      Long Island Lizards
Brian Karalunas     Villanova ’11     Long Island Lizards
John Lade     Syracuse ’11     Rochester Rattlers
Matt Lovejoy     Virginia ’12     Hamilton Nationals
P.T. Ricci     Loyola ’09      Boston Cannons
Michael Simon     Stevenson ’09     Chesapeake Bayhawks
Mike Skudin     Hofstra ’11     Long Island Lizards
Steven Waldeck     Stony Brook ’10     Hamilton Nationals
Joel White     Syracuse ’11     Rochester Rattlers
Chad Wiedmaier      Princeton ’12     Hamilton Nationals

Drew Adams     Penn State ’09     Long Island Lizards
Tyler Fiorito     Princeton ’12      Chesapeake Bayhawks
Matt Russell      Navy ’06     LXM Pro Tour
Jesse Schwartzmann      Johns Hopkins ’07     Denver Outlaws

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