ECHL: Reading Royals: A Talk With Joseph Nardi

Photo Credit: Sarah Pietrowski/ Reading Royals

For any hockey player, going professional is the ultimate dream. For Joseph Nardi, the dream was no different. Currently, Nardi plays for the ECHL team, Reading Royals.

Before turning pro, Nardi played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where he dressed for 161 games for the Whitecourt Wolverines. During the 2016-2017 season, Nardi played a part in the Wolverines going to the 2017 AJHL finals when he wore the “C”. Nardi was the second leading scorer during that postseason play with 6 goals and 15 assists.

College Play

Nardi played in 170 games for Northern Michigan University of the NCAA. In that 170-game span, he tallied 41 goals and 72 assists, with 68 PIMS. Nardi was Captain in the 2020-2021 season. He earned WCHA Second All-Star Team during that season as well. Nardi speaks on what it was like to play for Northern Michigan:

“Cool experience. i committed there when i was 17 years old. They were one of the first teams to talk to me while i was in Juniors. I decided to stay loyal to them and go there. They got a coaching change and Grant Potulny came and it really benefitted me. I spent five years there under him and learned alot about hockey and being a good person too. Obviously to represent the organization, community, and school is a big honor. Being able to wear the “A” and the “C” was a big accomplishment for me and my family.”

World Juniors

In 2015 and 2016, Nardi played on Team Canada West for the World Junior A competition. In the 2015 edition, he won a gold medal and posted 1 goal with 3 assists in four games. In 2016, he served as Alternate Captain and tallied 1 goal with 3 assists in four games. Nardi talked about the experience of being at World Juniors.

“That was pretty cool. Selection camp, im not sure how many players they brought in, but it consisted of Manitoba League, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC League. We went there, tried out and I was fortunate enough to make the team. First year we went on, i think it was to Cobourg, Ontario and we went on to win the gold.”

Hard Work Doesn’t Go Unnoticed

Having a positive in-game mindset is crucial for any player in the professional ranks. Nardi speaks on what his in-game mindset is and what he prides himself on during games:

“I’m one of those players that obviously likes to create their chances off hard work. So for me, I’m always looking to move my feet, always being in play, and just kind of hound the puck. I know when I’m playing well I’m always over top of players and using my speed to my advantage. Just staying consistent. Within this league, you have to really work hard to create your chances, so that’s something I pride myself on.”

Biggest Accomplishment

Nardi’s biggest accomplishment in life has nothing to do with hockey. It has to do with family and being an Uncle:

“Just family wise, my two brothers have kids. So being an Uncle and I was a godfather to one of them this past summer. I don’t get to spend alot of time with them being away for hockey. When i do [get to spend time with them], I’m pretty proud of them”

Lessons Learned

Learning lessons, whether it be from someone’s family, hobbies, or a person’s career, makes someone into who they are today. Nardi speaks on what his biggest lesson learned throughout his life is:

“From my parents, to just be a good person. With my parents, their parents came from Italy, so hard work has been instilled in them from a young age. They portrayed that to us growing up. So working hard for everything and earning everything you get.”

Summer Training

Off-season training happens for all hockey players. It’s a chance to work on weaknesses and strengthen the skills gained throughout the past season. Nardi talks about his summer training regimen:

“I’ve been at the same workout place and actually workout with Koletrane Wilson. I work out at Seven Hockey with Sean Bell and Josh Hill. I’ve been doing that for the last two summers. It’s five days a week, four of them are in the gym and then one is plyometrics or yoga kind of days and there are on-ice sessions as well. I actually work at a golf course too because i love the free golf access aspect of that and just relax during the summer.”

Idol Movement

Having an idol and someone to look up to is part of what makes a hockey player, who they are. For Nardi, being from Edmonton, it was only natural to look up to some Edmonton Oilers players:

“Growing up it was Brendan Gallagher. Now, being that I’m an Oilers fan, being able to watch Zach Hyman and how he creates chances off hard work, it’s really tenacious. He is always over the top of the puck, so it’s somebody I’ve been looking up to.”

This season with the Royals, Nardi has played in 50 games and has tallied 11 goals with 22 assists on the season. Nardi is the 2nd leading point scorer behind Matt Brow with 33 points.

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