For any hockey player, playing professionally is the goal. Some players end up in the NHL, AHL, and the ECHL. For Devon Paliani, after having his senior year of college interrupted by COVID, he was affected by this play-wise.
Development And Training During Covid
“When you sit out a full year, obviously, that’s never good. You want to be playing games, developing. What would have been my senior year for college, put a big damper on it. I think i did a pretty good job staying in shape, and working out alot, and staying on the ice that year. I managed it as good as i possibly could.”
During Paliani’s college days, he played for Ryerson University. Ryerson is part of the USports League. USports is the national governing body of University Sports in Canada.
It’s a very underrated league. Alot of people think, you go there, and your kind of done. It’s like any other league. If you want to get better and move on, you definitely have the chance to there. It’s really underrated hockey and i loved my time there.
In the span, of 98 games, Paliani tallied 34 goals and 38 assists. In the 19-20 season, Paliani scored a goal in overtime that took the team to the second round of playoffs. Ryerson finished that playoff series before the COVID pandemic halted everything in contact sports.
“Anytime you can get a game winning goal, it feels really good. In overtime, it feels a little better. To win a series for your team in school, it’s an amazing feeling.
At some point in every player’s life, they know they want to play professionally. Whether the hockey gene is ingrained into them through family, or it is just in their mind that this is what they want their career to be.
“I was pretty young. I would say as early as i can remember. I think my dad told me the first night he brought me home from the hospital he was holding me in his hand and we were watching a hockey game. I think i was kind of born into it, but i have no regrets with it at all.
After sitting out a year due to being unable to play, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, being able to play at all was a blessing, and many players, including Paliani were itching to get back at it. Paliani received a call from the Maine Mariners and that is where he started his rookie season in the ECHL.
“Anytime you go a year without hockey on an advanced level, you never really know what to expect or if you’re gonna get that call, or a contract, or anything like that. Maine was the first team to reach out. After a year with no hocky, i didn’t want to wait around, so i just signed up”
Most players, if not all, have game day routines to get their heads into the game and have them ready to play. Some players are superstitious, some go with the flow, and some just don’t care at all about routines.
“I’m pretty superstitous. I do alot. I have a routine from 8:30 in the morning when i get to the rink to puck drop.”
Players all have different mindsets when it comes to being in a game. Some have a tough nature and other players are calm, cool, and collected.
“I try to stay pretty positive and i like to compete. I get pretty frustrated pretty quick. I try to stay positive and just try to help the team in any way possible that i can. Whether it’s scoring a goal, setting up a goal, get into a fight, or hitting someone. It’s just stuff like that”
Being a leader takes skill and learning from others. This season, Paliani is proving himself to be a leader on the ice and off of the ice.
“It means alot. Anytime you get chosen to lead a group of professional athletes, it’s a big honor. It comes with alot more responsibilities. You kind of feel like your first few years in the league, you worry about yourself and the team’s winning. Now, you gotta worry not only about your own game, but all the other guys in the room. I want to lead by example. Sometimes when the guys need a spark, you have to put your own accolades aside and kind of do stuff for the team.
Being a leader means that you have learned lessons along the way to not only make you a leader but also make you a better person and apply those lessons.
“I would say probably one of the best things is never too high, never too low. You know, during the season, you play 72 games. So much can go on. You can have one week where your team is winning, and you’re playing really good, and scoring, and you feel confident. The next week, you are minus three and three games. You lose all three games, you don’t score and it feels like the world is ending. I would say, just for a long season, alot of travel, alot of bumps and bruises, you can never let yourself get too high or too low. You have to try to stay even keel.
During this season with the Reading Royals, Paliani has played in 16 games. He has tallied 1 goal with 8 assists for 9 points. Paliani has also tallied 32 PIMS so far this season. Fans can often find him on the first line with other forwards such as Tyson Fawcett, Ryan Chyzowski, and Brayden Guy.