Over the summer District A-7 Community Officer Gary Marino had a plan to start bringing hockey back to its past glory in East Boston.
Marino, who grew up playing hockey in the neighborhood’s youth leagues, said there are plenty of kids who want to play but are hindered by the cost of the sport or lack of access to ice time.
“I played Mite Hockey with East Boston Youth Hockey growing up,” said Marino. “I moved on to the North Shore Raiders under coach Joe Yanetti from Squirts to Midgets and he was one of the best coaches I ever played for.”
Marino said growing up in Eastie and playing organized hockey was a great experience and wanted to be able to provide that same experience to neighborhood youth.
Marino, through the Boston Police’s Youth Activities League, started a free skills hockey clinic two days a week at the Porrazzo Rink in East Boston over the summer with the help of FMC who oversees the rink’s programs.
“I was born and raised in East Boston,” said Marino who coached boys hockey at the former Savio Prep High School, as well as the Islanders Hockey Club Elite team with Tom And Scott Fitzgerald–two icons in the hockey world. “I wanted to be able to give back and share my skills with the area’s youth. We are extremely fortunate to have the FMC working with us. Without the partnership of FMC this program would not be possible. Ice is extremely expensive and hard to come by. We were able to secure two days a week with the help from FMC’s Patrick Furze.”
Marino, who has served in the Boston Police Department for over 20 years and was part owner and instructor of Break Thru Hockey Skills with Christian Scourletis from 2012-2016, said the program has been fantastic so far.
“There have been many highlights with this program thus far,” said Marino. “Our first class was a group of high school players. Two players in particular were thinking about quitting football so they could participate in our second session. They said they got so much out of this class and have never seen anything like it. Parents love the skills training and commented on the variety of drills and structure of the program.”
Marino said the program’s goal, with the help of the FMC, is to use the program to help strengthen community policing.
“Sharing my passion for hockey will not only make the youth better hockey players, but will build a relationship with the community, as well as trust with the Boston Police Department,” said Marino.