Voices from the Ice Hawks Past
This edition of Voices from the Ice Hawks Past takes us all the way back to the Le Sueur days of the Minnesota Ice Hawks. Craig Stern a Camp Hill, PA native played in the 97-98 and 98-99 seasons for the Rochester Ice Hawks as a defenseman. He also played very briefly for the Rochester Mustangs in the USHL in the 2000-01 season. Stern attended Framingham State College (MA( where he was a standout in three seasons for the Rams.
Craig Stern- As an Ice Hawk
Defense DOB: Jan 19 1981 -- Ht 5’.9 -- Wt 185 Hometown: Camp Hill, PA
Craig Stern today
Q: What was your Favorite Ice Hawks Memory and Why?
A: It would be impossible for me to pick just one. The time spent with teammates, coaches, and fans (back then we had about 15 in total) is what I will always remember. Minnesota is a great hockey state with great hockey people and I truly enjoyed my time as an Ice Hawk.
Q: How did the ice Hawks prepare you for life after Hockey?
A: One major life-lesson was the value of perseverance. Back in those days, we were near the bottom of the league and there were several games a year that we would lose by double-digits. But it taught me how to deal with those types of losses from a mental and emotional standpoint, learn from them, and continue to push forward. This is very much akin to life in the “real world;” especially in the current job market. Since 2008, the legal market has essentially imploded upon itself and made finding a decent job in the field extremely difficult. Graduating law school and finding a job in this market has been challenging, at best. However, by figuring out how to adapt and overcome, I was able to land a great position with a great company.
Q: What type of Law do you practice?
A: I currently work as an attorney in the Office of the Corporate Secretary for John Hancock Financial Services in Boston, Massachusetts. I handle corporate law, corporate governance and campaign finance issues.
Q: Why did you choose the Ice Hawks back then?
A: At the time, I was familiar with the league, as a team from the MnJHL had won the Junior ‘B’ National Championship four out of six years from 1991 to 1997. Moreover, I was 16 years old and wanted to get out of Pennsylvania in order to play in a more “established” hockey state. There were a couple of guys from my area that had traveled out to play, and through them, I was put in touch with Nick Fatis, who gave me a shot.
Q: What style of player were you with the Ice Hawks and what NHL player did you model your game after?
A: I was focused on being a balanced, two-way defenseman. I enjoyed making quick outlet passes and occasionally jumping into the rush; but I always tried to make sure to take care of the defensive zone, which was always my top priority. This focus usually earned me both power-play and penalty-kill time. I always tried to play smart, consistent hockey. I also threw pretty mean hip-check.
I tried to model myself off of the best NHL defensemen at that time. Nicklas Lidstrom, Scott Stevens, Rod Langway, and Mark Howe were a couple of my favorites to watch and attempt to emulate (key word here is “attempt’).
Q: Advice for a current or future Ice Hawk for after hockey?
A: First, do not take your time with the Ice Hawks (and playing competitive hockey) for granted, because that time is fleeting. Make the most of it.
Second, listen to Nick Fatis. He knows what he’s talking about and really does care about your development as both a hockey player and as a person.
Finally, find interests outside of hockey—and outside sports in general—and cultivate them. If you think you might be interested in the arts or science or medicine or business or education (or all of them), reach out to people in those fields for advice, insight, and guidance. Most will be happy to give it—unless you want to be a lawyer; don’t reach out to lawyers—we have enough lawyers.
Q: Biggest life lesson that you got with your time with the Ice Hawks?
A: Along with perseverance, I learned the value of education. When the General Manager of the team has PhD, there is certainly going to be an emphasis on it. While I cannot say the lesson completely resonated with me at the time—as all I wanted to do was play hockey—when I finally got to college, it really began to click.
Q: Any other statement or message you want to say?
A: I want to wish Ice Hawks best of luck this season! Hopefully, I can get back out there one of these days to catch a couple games in person. Go Ice Hawks!
That’s it for this edition of Voices from the Ice Hawks Past.
Editor’s Note- If you have a favorite Ice Hawk alum you would like to hear from, contact Jon Volker at firstname.lastname@example.org