Today we hear from T-Birds standout Defensemen of the early 1990’s Joe Russo. At the time Superior Ice Rink was the home to Suffolk County High School Hockey, and the T-Birds were re-establishing themselves as a competitive club in the league, but make no mistake Joe Russo was “their guy”. I really think his last two points are most relevant to hockey players and young adults in life. Joe thank you for your time; and as an active player still we look forward to seeing you on the ICE for practices soon!
- What town did you grow up in and High school did you attend?
I grew up in Bohemia, a quick bike ride to Connetquot HS
- Did you play other sports in High School, if so which one(s)?
Yes, soccer when i was young, taking up hockey 7-8yrs old. Then hockey and football through secondary school years, then hockey and lacrosse until senior year when my lacrosse coach gave me an ultimatum…. and then it was just hockey
- What years did you play for the T-Birds Club?
I want to say 1988-1993, looking for old photos and trophies to confirm
- Was there a coach that left a positive impression or influence for you that helped in hockey and life?
They were all great and supportive- but i would say Marc Sambach (Currently St. Anthony’s GM) was always one that stood out with focus, discipline and direction.
- What was your most memorable moment while playing for the TBirds?
We were in such a developmental state, but i would say senior year we made it to States. We had a local sponsor buy the team all matching white Christian Hockey warm-up suits. We all thought we were so cool in them.
- Where and for whom did you play your travel hockey?
Suffolk PAL all the way through to graduating HS. We had a very talented and pure visionary-type of a coach that all taught us a lot about hockey and life
- Did you play hockey past High School, if so where?
I went on to play in the USHL- 2 years with the Omaha Lancers and the North Iowa Huskies. Then played 4 years at Plattsburgh University
- What is Joe Russo doing today?
I work at an investment research and banking boutique, as an Equity Sales Trader
- What would you recommend the current TBirds players take away from their High School Hockey Experience?
Yes- 1) always be yourself 2) savor where you are in life 3) focus, spend time on and forge friendships 4) don’t push off the future, welcome it but most importantly- prepare for it
- Anything that you would like to add about your time playing for the TBirds; teammates/ coaches/ parent support/ etc?
I had a lot of coaches in my time there, but it’s your wingmen and teammates that make it all real and memorable. Time in the locker room and with the boys on the ice are the best memories- and the ones present players should really savor.
Respect your coaches and parents- they earned it and have decades of experience for you to learn from. Don’t ever disrespect them or their time they put into being with you.
Getting the community involved in any sport is great- it keeps the players more focused and honest- as they know many are watching, and true characteristic traits emerge.