By John Torsiello
When Simsbury’s Emily Riccio arrived at Trinity College and laced up her skates to play with the school’s women’s hockey team she was relatively undaunted.
Sure, it was a leap from playing at Loomis Chaffee in Windsor. But the level of competition at the private school had been high and Riccio was ready to move her game to the next level.
“As long as you are playing with confidence it doesn’t really matter who you’re playing against or with,” said the junior. “Naturally, the speed of the game got faster in college, but instinctually your learn to respond by making harder passes and moving the puck more quickly. Our new coach, Jenny Potter, knows so much about the game and we are fortunate enough to get to learn from one of the best.”
The 21-year-old attended Simsbury High School for one year prior to transferring to Loomis Chaffee. She has lived in Simsbury her entire life. Although only at Simsbury High School for one year she attained all-conference honors.
The 5-foot, 8-inch defenseman played 24 games for the Bantams, a Division III school playing in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (also known as “The Little Ivies”), as a freshman, scoring a goal and notching an assist. She played in 19 games her sophomore year with one assist, and this year had one goal and three assists in 15 games for Trinity, which had a 10-5-3 record in its first 18 games of the campaign.
The daughter of John and Carrie Riccio, her brother, Alex, played hockey at Skidmore College, her grandfather, Harold Moffie, played baseball and football at Yale University, an aunt, Celia Moffie, played tennis at Yale, and a cousin, Lee Moffie, plays ice hockey at the University of Michigan.
Riccio began playing hockey at the age of six because “I wanted to be just like my older brother, so whatever he did I followed. And playing hockey was a big part of that.” In addition to hockey and lacrosse, she played field hockey, soccer and ran cross-country in high school.
She talked about her decision to attend Trinity, located in Hartford.
“I wanted to play hockey in college ever since I was in the sixth grade and I liked the school. The hockey aspect worked out recruiting-wise and I am very happy with my choice. I love being a part of a team. The time in the locker room is one of the most entertaining points in my day. Hockey specifically though, the rush you experience after making a great play and having a good shift, is just so much fun.”
She says that because college hockey is much faster than at the high school level there is less time to make decisions and hold on to the puck. “You have to think quicker and move the puck quicker.”
She is thoroughly enjoying being a part of the Trinity community.
“I have a great group of friends, girls both on the team and not on the team. Trinity has been a blast. Playing hockey here has greatly contributed to shaping my overall experience. Being able to play in practice and games throughout the week and having goals to work toward is, for me, a great way to balance my priorities between academics, social life, and athletics.”
Practices involve a lot of small games, she says, three-on-three and two-on-two drills. “One of the team’s favorite drills is the “spuck game” where we split up half the team on one bench and half the team on the other. Five pucks are lined up on each team’s respective blue line and only one person can shoot at once. The first team to get all five pucks in wins.
Unfortunately we only get to play this game at the end of a lighter practice.” Off-season training consists of weightlifting, conditioning, shooting pucks in the driveway of her home in Simsbury and working on power skating, as well as playing pickup hockey whenever possible.
Riccio is an Economics major with a minor in Chinese and Architectural Design.
“I love my classes, which are mostly economics classes. I’m in my third year taking Chinese and it’s very challenging but exciting. My favorite classes by far, however, are my architectural design and drawing courses. My goal after college is to become an architect.”
Emily Riccio is also enjoying skating circles around her opponents on the ice, something she has loved doing since she was a young girl growing up in Simsbury.