RIDGEFIELD – Michael Conciatore is watching Ridgefield hockey games from a different view this year.
Due to an injury this fall, Conciatore has become the voice of the Tigers instead of his spot as a first line winger.
During an offseason skate in the fall, Conciatore was hit from behind, then slid into the boards legs first.
His femur was broken, he was rushed to the hospital and had surgery that day.
“(It was) probably more pain than most people will ever experience, to be completely honest,” Conciatore said. “That was the worst thing ever.”
With his senior season over before it began, Conciatore turned to another one of his loves, broadcasting.
“I always wanted to be an announcer, that’s been my dream for as long as I could remember,” he said.
Conciatore, who is one of the leaders of Ridgefield’s student fan group, The Tiger’s Lair, reached out to athletic director Dane Street about broadcasting games on a live stream.
With a lot of interest from students, and fans either not being allowed to go to games or being limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the perfect time for Ridgefield to start live streaming.
Street said the school linked up with Birds Eye Sports and have hit the ground running for the hockey games. The school is still figuring out how to stream the basketball games.
“We gave Mike the mic and let him run with it,” Street said.
Before the Ridgefield season opener at Wonderland of Ice against Fairfield Prep, coach Shaun Gallagher asked Conciatore if he brought his helmet with him, so he could sit on the bench with the team.
He did bring his helmet, but he had another idea.
“I was thinking I could announce the game,” Conciatore said to his coach. “I plugged the headset to the Hudl film camera and just commentated the game from there.”
The response from his teammates was positive and paired with the new live streaming for Ridgefield home games, Conciatore was locked in.
“For him to kind of run into a different role and do that very well, is not a surprise to me,” Gallagher said.
The coach also said that Conciatore is a huge loss on the ice this season for the team and that he would have had a spot on the top line.
“He’s got a distinct ability to find good space and hold good space,” Gallagher said. “His shot release was like a man.”
Conciatore misses being on the ice with his teammates, but he has enjoyed and learned a lot from watching the game from a new perspective.
“You see the game differently, you see how it works, you see systems differently,” he said. “You see everything differently.”
He said he likes to keep it light and have fun on the call. And sometimes his Tiger pride might come through.
“He’s definitely a Tiger, he’ll favor the Tigers in his broadcasts and if people don’t like that?” Gallagher said. “We don’t care, he is one of us.”
When Street took over as athletic director, he said he wanted to create core values for athletes to have, one of them being resiliency.
Street looked back on his own career, noting that when he was a freshman in college he torn his ACL and couldn’t bring himself to watch the team play because he missed being out there so much.
“(Mike) picked up a different piece of it to contribute,” he said. “I give him a lot of credit for handling the adversity thrown his way.”