Chris Parrezzi takes his gym bag with him every day.
That routine might represent the norm for many student-athletes, but for the fourth-year ice hockey defenseman, it is an especially necessary companion.
The bag contains several items that Parrezzi utilizes as he progresses through his first semester of student-teaching.
Parrezzi starts his day teaching his kindergarten class from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Jarrettown Elementary in Upper Dublin.
Parrezzi then rushes down to Olympia Pizzeria, for which he delivers pizzas three nights per week. He changes from black dress pants and a polo to kakis and a dress shirt.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, he sprints from his job to the ice hockey rink, where he dons his helmet and pads.
“It’s time consuming for sure,” Parrezzi said. “It’s funny because I have two groups. I have the hockey guys and they only know me through hockey and then I have my teachers that I work with. It’s hard having them not knowing that I have two separate lives that are pretty crazy. I just have to know that I am trying my hardest in each little world.”
Parrezzi works his pizzeria job, partly in an attempt to offset expenses that include $2,700 to remain on the ice hockey club.
“I pay for some of it, but I get a lot of help from my mom,” Parrezzi said. “She has been helping me out a lot this semester because of my student teaching.”
Holding down a job off the ice is not a foreign concept to Parrezzi’s teammates, as 18 of the 30 rostered and redshirt players work during school semesters or in the offseason.
Among those players is fellow defenseman Patrick Hanrahan, who officiates ice hockey games for Manitoba Junior Hockey League and the Eastern Hockey League during the ice hockey club’s off days. Hanrahan also referees during the summer in men’s league games, tournaments and showcases.
He said he splits the costs of player dues with his parents, but maintaining his busy lifestyle has taught him important life skills.
“I have learned in the past few years that you really have to budget your time,” Hanrahan said. “You have to schedule your week in advance and really understand when you are going to play hockey, when you’re going to do school work and when you are going to work.”
Hanrahan’s role on the team also includes the club’s president as he handles uniforms, apparel and keeps track of team expenses. Hanrahan also partners with the team’s treasurer in Greg Malinowski to collect player dues on a month-by-month basis.
Former coach Jerry Roberts assists Hanrahan and Malinowski by building the budget at the start of each season.
New members to the team this season had to pay $3,300 in membership dues, but Roberts noted that the team pays $27,000 for ice time at the Northeast Skate Zone.
Campus Recreation helps offset the expense by providing an allotment of funds each year. This year, the $23,000 given to the club was the largest amount among Temple’s 28 clubs, and the same amount as last year.
Roberts has been involved with the budget every year since he was a player on the Owls from Fall 2002 to Spring 2007. Roberts expressed the desire to hand the responsibilities off to a current player on the team.
“I think there are opportunities for some of the players, especially those with business majors, to get a more hands on experience with creating the budget and managing the budget,” Roberts said. “It would be something they could stick to when they go for a job interview when they go to graduate.”
Forward Justin McKenney said member costs have risen since last year by a $600 clip, but players are treated to $250 discount thanks to a deal the team made three years ago, Roberts said.
The cost of equipment is another factor the team takes into account.
“One of the things that we realized a couple years ago was that we were not doing a very good job of leveraging our purchasing power, except that we had 30-35 players that all had the same basic need in terms of equipment,” Roberts said.
The deficit pushed Roberts to work out a deal with professional hockey brand Bauer. The team is not locked into a contract, but has a general agreement with the sports equipment dealer.
The deal requires the club to buy $15,000 to $20,000 in equipment with sticks, making up more than half the purchase.
The cost-cutting move makes it cheaper for players to join the club, with discounts reaching as high as 50 percent, Roberts said.
Prior to Bauer, the club used to get their sticks from resale vendors, while players were responsible for the purchase of their own helmets and other hockey accessories.
STUDENT BY DAY, DJ AT NIGHT
Coach Ryan Frain remembers player dues being around $2,000 during his playing days, but also noted that he did not have the luxury of the team’s new gear.
The differences do not stop there, however, as Frain’s parents paid for the majority of his college finances.
“I needed their support not only sports-wise, but financially,” Frain said. “They were able to not only put me through college, but pay my player dues each year. I will pretty much be forever grateful for that.”
Frain worked as a DJ for various parties in the offseason because of the weekend slate of hockey games.
Today, Frain works as a full-time Marketing Specialist for Farmers Insurance, but his more structured lifestyle allows him to handle the tolls of also being a coach. Frain tries to relay wisdom to his players about the importance of time management.
“Let’s just say that when I was in school, I never thought I had the time that I actually did have and I know that now because of my experience with my real job,” Frain said. “Every day up by 7 a.m., in the office by 8 a.m. until 5:30 [p.m.], then I go to the gym and eat dinner, and I’m off to practice and then it’s all over again.”
Serving through teaching
Three of the club’s players pay for a portion of their player dues by staying on the ice.
Goalie Eric Semborski, forward Steve Luongo and defenseman Jason Lombardi serve as part-time coaches for the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation.
The charitable organization serves more than 3,000 kids from impoverished neighborhoods of urban Philadelphia and Camden. Each child has the opportunity to skate and play hockey, but the organization also focuses on helping them through high school and beyond.
“It’s awesome,” Lombardi said. “It’s pretty cool teaching kids how to skate. A lot of them come from underprivileged communities, so to see them come on the ice is a pretty neat thing.”
Player dues are more than the $750 and $2,000 charges that Roberts and Frain faced, respectively, during their own playing days, but Frain said the money is getting funneled right back into the program.
“We are trying to make this as varsity as we can for these guys,” Frain said. “I just think it has steadily crept up from year to year. Not too much of a huge surprise from one year to the next for returners, but we are trying to put our best foot forward.”
Stephen Godwin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @StephenGodwinJr