Through the first few weeks of the semester, sophomore Ryan Cotcamp, in his first season with the team, has enjoyed his time at Stony Brook.
“The team is a bunch of good guys, I haven’t run into any problems with anybody on the team,” Cotcamp said. “I don’t like the walking going around campus, but other than that, the school is awesome.”
For Cotcamp, this upcoming season also is a new start in his hockey career.
Two seasons ago, Ryan Cotcamp was an emerging freshman at Westfield State, an NCAA Division-III school in Massachusetts. Playing a regular role in the team’s top six, he scored four points in his first five games.
“It was a good school,” Cotcamp said. “I wasn’t paying a lot of money, I was getting good grades, it was a good campus, so everything was fine in that aspect.”
But then he missed team picture, which caused his coach to drop him out of the line-up. That and a torn meniscus suffered in practice would de-rail his season.
“I went from first line power play, second line center, to sixth line in practice after missing picture day,” Cotcamp said. “Then I tore my meniscus, it was a real bad string of luck.”
Cotcamp eventually left Westfield State and almost stopped playing hockey entirely, only playing roller hockey once or twice a month.
During his hiatus from competitive hockey, Cotcamp said he played online poker on the popular website PokerStars.net until the website was shut down by the FBI in April 2011.
“I won a good amount of money,” Cotcamp said. “Last summer, I won $15,000 in a $100 dollar tournament.”
However, citing a desire to play hockey again, he contacted Stony Brook head coach Chris Garofalo, who had recruited him before he went to Westfield State, and asked him about joining the team.
Having been out of hockey for so long, Cotcamp’s lack of conditioning was evident at the start of the team’s training camp.
Toward the end of the first practice, he struggled with the suicides, grueling rink-long sprints done repeatedly.
However, his talent caught the eye of Garofalo, who thinks the 6’1″, 175 lbs forward could potentially be a key player for the Seawolves.
“He’s a natural goal-scorer, he has good size to him, he’s a good skater, and he sees the ice very well,” Garofalo said. “He’s progressed every single skate, he has gotten better and better, so I’m very excited, I can only imagine a month from now what he is going to look like.”
According to Garofalo, however, it will be up to Cotcamp if he will play a large role.
“I think everybody has to earn their spots at this point, nothing is set in stone,” Garofalo said. “It’s all up to him, and it’s all up to how he performs compared to his teammates.”
For now, though, Cotcamp is content with playing hockey again.
“I’m a real competitive person, I just like playing hockey,” Cotcamp said. “I’m pretty good at hockey, so I might as well keep playing it.”