Berkshire School hockey products together yet again
ALBANY, N.Y. — Teammates in prep school and in college, Kevin Rooney and Trevor Mingoia both hope to be pro teammates for a long time.
"I think it's just fate now," said Rooney, who signed an amateur tryout contract with the New Jersey Devils organization, and was sent to the American Hockey League's Albany Devils.
Rooney and Mingoia, both of whom were signed to ATOs by the Devils and ended up in Albany, were teammates at Providence College, where they were on an NCAA Division I championship team in 2015. And before college, both were teammates at Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass. That's a lot of time together.
"I think it's the hockey gods just want us to keep playing together," Rooney said with a laugh.
Rooney played four years at Providence for former Union College coach Nate Leaman. Mingoia originally went to Union College to play for Leaman's successor Rick Bennett. Mingoia took the ice for the first time in Friar black and white for the 2014-15 season.
"It made the transition here very easy," Mingoia said of having his ex-Bear and ex-Friar teammate on the roster. "Kevin and I are very good friends. We're pretty fortunate to be spending the little journey here together.
"It's crazy. It's been awesome to have him here."
The two players, who were seniors at PC this past winter, were two-year teammates at the Sheffield prep school.
Mingoia came to Berkshire from Fairport, N.Y., and the Tri-City Storm of the U.S. Hockey League. Mingoia was the Berkshire Hockey Trophy award winner in 2011 as the team's most valuable player. He won the Mary Gardner Taylor Memorial Hockey Trophy as the team's leading scorer, and was captain in his senior year.
Rooney had 27 goals and 31 assists in two years at Berkshire, and was the MVP of the Large School Playoffs in 2012. He played hockey and baseball at Berkshire School, and was the captain of both the hockey and baseball teams.
"I haven't been back recently," Mingoia said, when asked if he's visited the Berkshire campus lately. "I work the summer camps there at Berkshire. It's great to get back.
"I love Berkshire and I can't wait to get back."
While Mingoia came to Berkshire from junior hockey, Rooney had played at Canton High School outside of Boston.
"My brother [Bryan] was two years older than me and he was looking for prep schools to go to," Kevin Rooney said. "We went out to Berkshire. I said I want to go for the ride.
"I was only a freshman in high school. I jumped in, loved it when I got out there."
Bryan Rooney ended up going to New Hampton School and played hockey at Stonehill, while Kevin ended up at Berkshire.
When Rooney and Mingoia arrived to play for the Devils, the AHL team was in the thick of the battle for a division title and top seed in the conference playoffs.
"I had a couple of options, but I felt the Devils were the best fit for me. They were the most interested in me," said Rooney "They gave me the opportunity to come in here at the end of my school year to transition and start to become a pro on and off the ice. How established this organization is was one of the reasons I came here."
For Mingoia's part, getting thrust into a battle for high seeds in the Calder Cup Playoffs made his transition to the program easier.
"I think it makes it easier, stepping into a winning culture. I knew that right when I stepped into the locker room," he said. "They play the right way. They play for each other. I couldn't be happier to step into a team that's chasing the playoffs.
"My first game here, we clinched."
It's been a pretty good year for Berkshire School hockey alumni. A year after winning a national championship, Providence lost to UMass-Lowell in three overtimes in the Hockey East Tournament semifinals. Then the Friars lost to Minnesota-Duluth in two overtimes in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Berkshire school alum Kendall Coyne captured the 2016 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the top player in NCAA Division I women's ice hockey, while another Berkshire alumna, Kacey Bellamy, plays with the Boston Pride of the National Women's Hockey League.
Rooney played in seven regular-season games. He did not get a goal but registered three assists and was a plus-2 in the plus/minus rating. Mingoia did not get a point in four games, and was a minus-1.
The Devils and the Utica Comets were locked in a first-round playoff series, with Albany holding a 2-0 series lead through Monday's first two games.
Neither player is currently in uniform for the Devils, as parent club New Jersey sent players down to help the Devils.
So with some time on his hands, Kevin Rooney said he might make a stop on campus in Sheffield on the way home.
"It was tough to go off campus on weekends" during hockey season, he said. "We went to Great Barrington. I'm familiar with there a lot, and I know the trails around Berkshire School still.
"Maybe after I'm done here, we'll make a pit stop."
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.
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