Most people know Carl Corazzini as a standout captain at Boston University, a professional hockey player, or one of the best coaches in recent New England history. I know Carl as a not only my coach, but a friend.
As my parents dropped me off that September day at St. Mark’s School, I remember wondering if I had made a huge mistake. Leaving my family behind in order for me to chase my dream. Sacrifice doesn’t do this decision justice. Not just for me. For my family I left, my friends, and most of all, all the things I would miss.
I’m not a special case. I didn’t know Carl until I decided upon attending. I really do not think people understand the impact that this man had on my life. I talk about it a lot, I let people know how great of a person he is, or how he develops high end talent, but for me it is more than that.
We talk about heroes. How they save peoples lives, or make you feel safe.
Carl is my hero.
I had a great prep school career. I played a lot, was fortunate enough to be able to captain a great group of friends and made it to the NEPSAC playoffs two years in a row. The only thing more that I could have asked for was to bring the small school title back to where it belongs, at St. Mark’s.
Most people thought I was a lock to play at a high level upon graduating, even Carl himself. I signed to play in one of the best junior leagues in North America and went with a chip on my shoulder to prove everyone that I was someone worth taking a chance on.
I struggled. I wasn’t where I felt comfortable, playing for the Lions under Coach Corazzini.
I quit. I gave up on my dream. I decided to finally move on.
I can talk about my experience at SM as much as I want. How much I loved it and am grateful for my time, or how I made life long friends. It is about time people outside the halls of a New England boarding school here how important Mr. Corazzini is to not just me, but every person who is fortunate enough to meet him.
I was in his office every day. We could talk about hockey, family even what we had for dinner the previous night. It didn’t matter because he just wanted to talk to me as a friend, not someone who was on the powerplay or had a bad turnover the game before.
I struggled with a lot of things at St. Mark’s. Being away from home one of them, the schooling being hard and most of all the pressure of having to perform at the highest level. I wanted to play Division 1 hockey. It’s all I ever wanted. Like most kids I sacrificed everything for it. There were times after a big showcase that I thought it was going to happen. Maybe I got a call from a coach or my advisor reached out with good news, but it just never seemed to make any headway.
What sticks out to me is what happened when I decided to give up. He was there. Texted me more than anyone I knew. He understood how much this sport meant to me. What I was going through with my mental illness, and most importantly how many people I thought I let down.
More than anything, I thought I let him down. All the time we spent in his office, in the rink, on the bus. There was no better feeling than scoring a big goal and looking at how happy he was with me. I wanted to win to repay him for all he did.
Since graduating from St. Mark’s in 2019, I have had a lot of time to reflect on my journey. I owe a lot to Carl and what he did for me. Not a lot of people will answer you phone call at 10 PM on a Sunday night to ask for a favor. Carl will.
Thank you, Carl. Not only for helping me get through speedbumps, but for always being there for me when I needed it. Go Lions!
St. Mark’s School ’19