Monday, May 10, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Licari Has Breakout Season on the Ice


Junior center Teddy Licari boosted his offensive production this season, while helping the Hand boys’ ice hockey squad win 18 games for the second-straight campaign.

Photo courtesy of Teddy Licari

Junior center Teddy Licari boosted his offensive production this season, while helping the Hand boys’ ice hockey squad win 18 games for the second-straight campaign. (Photo courtesy of Teddy Licari )

Teddy Licari spends a lot of time in his driveway, ripping pucks at his net in order to perfect his shot for hockey season. Teddy’s dedication to his craft helped him have a breakout campaign with the Hand boys’ ice hockey squad this winter.

Teddy is a junior who lines up at center for the Tigers. Teddy, whose father Chris was a winger at Tufts University, grew up playing hockey under his father’s guidance. Teddy started skating when he was in kindergarten and, as he got older, he began playing travel hockey for the Greater New Haven Warriors.

“I believe all that experience I got at a young age has really benefited my game today,” says Teddy. “Also, growing up with my dad instilling that love of the game he had for the sport made me really want to push harder, and it made me fall in love with it.”

Teddy finished with four goals and 19 assists for the 2019-’20 season, increasing his offensive output from his sophomore campaign, when he had two goals with six assists. Teddy also helped the Tigers continue establishing themselves as one of the top squads in the Southern Connecticut Conference by finishing the year with an overall record of 18-3-1.

“I thought we had a great year,” Teddy says. “We know what we had and, had the season not been canceled, I think we could have made a big run at states.”

Teddy felt that Hand played one of its best games of the year when the Tigers took a 4-3 loss to Branford on Feb. 29. Despite the defeat, Hand gave the defending conference and state champion Hornets everything they could handle in a game that came down to the final seconds.

“We had a lot of wins this year, but to me, the most memorable game came against Branford,” says Teddy, who competes in the Southern Connecticut Hockey League during the offseason. “It ended in a loss, but it showed us that we could compete with the best. We were in that game until the very end and only lost by one goal. Every loss we had this season was by one goal or shootout, which is a testament to how good we were defensively.”

Teddy models his game after Travis Konecny, an All-Star right wing who plays on the Philadelphia Flyers. Konecny has 24 goals and 37 assists on the year for the Flyers, which is Teddy’s favorite NHL team.

“I like Konecny because of his ability to score and find other players at a high level,” says Teddy. “I’ve been a Flyers’ fan my whole life, and it’s great that Philadelphia was able to draft him [in 2015].”

Hand Head Coach Brian Gonsalves describes Teddy as one of the states’ best two-way centers in the Division II ranks. Gonsalves never has to worry about whether Teddy is going to bring his A-game to the rink on a daily basis.

“Teddy is Mr. Consistent. [He] shows up every day, practice or game, and brings that 200-foot effort you dream about as a coach,” Gonsalves says. “His dedication to his position and his attention to detail makes Teddy one of the best.”

Teddy met Coach Gonsalves during the summer before his sophomore year. Teddy says that Gonsalves had a positive impact on the Tigers right away.

“He was instantly invested in our success,” says Teddy of Gonsalves. “I knew we were in good hands when he took over, because he knew what he wanted to do with the program, and I know we’ve got a lot of good things to come.”

Teddy has great expectations for what Hand can achieve in his senior season. Teddy wants to cap off his high school career by helping the Tigers claim a state championship.

“There would be no better feeling. We’ve all worked too hard to settle for anything less than a state title, and we have the talent to win it all,” says Teddy. “More than anything, our bond with each other is amazing. We all enjoy hanging out with each other, and going to the rinks every day never felt like an obligation. It was always something we were looking forward to doing.”

Teddy takes several Advanced Placement classes at Hand and is currently in the process of figuring out where he wants to go to college. Teddy says that he’d like to continue his career on the ice after he graduates from high school.

“I’m only a junior, so I still have some time, but I have some ideas as to where I’d like to go,” says Teddy. “One way or another, I see myself playing hockey at some level in college. I enjoy the sport so much.”

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