Off the Ice with Nicole Giannino ’15

By Maureen Dougherty ’14

Even before rising senior and psychology major Nicole Giannino ’15 was named the MVP of the Holy Cross women’s ice hockey team for the 2013-2014 season, she had taken the ice for Team USA. We asked this forward from Bay Shore, N.Y., to share more about her life in and out of the rink.

Q   You’ve been a member of Team USA since you were 15. What is the best part of playing for a national team?

A   The opportunity to travel the world while playing the sport I love. In 2011, I competed in the World Games in Roccarosa, Italy, with Team USA, and we won the gold. [Editor’s Note: In 2010, the team took bronze at the World Games in Beroun, Czech Republic.]

Q   So, what does an ice hockey player do in the summer?

A   In addition to playing ice hockey, I play a lot of inline hockey to keep me active and in shape for the ice hockey season. I also travel a lot for tournaments during the summer and train for Worlds. 

Q   You must spend so much time traveling and practicing with your team, do you have any good stories? 

A   [laughing] Yes! We have so many funny stories, but one of the first that pops into my head is a story about Coach [Peter] Van Buskirk. During practice one day, he went into the announcer’s box and took the microphone and began commenting on every play over the loudspeaker. Our practice turned to complete chaos as girls tried to steal the microphone and the random people who happened to walk into the rink were so confused. There was also another time he just strolled onto the ice for practice sporting a vintage, and ridiculously outdated, USA swishy coat with an eagle on the back. He definitely provides a lot of laughs for our team. 

Q   If you weren’t playing hockey, would you be playing another sport? 

A   Definitely. I don’t think I could handle not being active! If I didn’t play hockey, I’d probably spend a lot of time playing lacrosse.

Q   Why did you choose to come to Holy Cross?

A   I chose Holy Cross because of the opportunity to play great hockey while getting the best education I could get. Holy Cross is also not that far from home on Long Island N.Y., so my parents were definitely excited for me not to be that far away—I spent high school away from home at the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid.

Q   When you have a break from playing hockey, what is your favorite thing to do on the weekends at school?

A   On the weekends that I’m not playing hockey at school I definitely like catch up on some sleep and spend a lot of time off campus with my teammates and friends. 

Q   What’s been your favorite class at Holy Cross so far?

A   Definitely physiological psychology with Professor [Dan] Bitran. I am particularly interested in biological psychology. 

Q   As a rising senior, do you have any plans of pursuing hockey after graduation?

A   I’ve considered continuing ice hockey overseas. And, of course, I hope to still be playing for Team USA for as long as I can.  ■