Catching up with A.J. DiCesare ’17

This is part of an ongoing series where catch up with recent graduates who postponed college for junior hockey.

AJ

A.J. DiCesare ’17 signs an autograph for a young fan.

What have you been doing since you graduated?

I am playing for Corpus Christi [Texas] IceRays in the North American Hockey League (NAHL)

How does it compare to the caliber of Northwood last year?

Honestly there is not a lot of skill difference, but what separates this year from last year are how fast the guys are and their strength: playing with men now who are that much closer to playing college hockey compared to high school hockey last year. The speed forces you just to make plays faster and get used to making plays under heavier pressure, which was not a difficult adjustment.  The difference in strength and size also encourages me to better defend with my feet and my stick, as supposed to just relying my strength and positioning like I could last year.

How’s the living situation compared to boarding school?

It’s much different. I am living in a billet home in South Texas for starters, where there are palm trees and the weather rarely dips below 60 degrees, compared to the snowy mountains of Lake Placid. Living with a billet family that I’ve gotten close with now throughout season, compared to living in dorms with the guys is a bit of an adjustment. I have to behave more often and I don’t have the boys around me to joke around with. Overall, there are similarities and big differences. Rules and respect are always in the house, no problem. But it is nice to have way more freedom here with my own car and doing things on my own time compared to Northwood. Still, I do believe the structure of the days at Northwood has helped me be more responsible this year.

What do you miss most about Northwood?

I miss being a part of a bigger community, in the sense that Northwood was a more socially diverse atmosphere and I got to spend much more time developing strong relationships with many different students, teachers, and faculty. Living on campus and being with my friends and teammates 24/7 really enabled me to dial in and get really close with tons of people. At the same time, it is always nice to have time to yourself, but it is certainly very different being in separate billet homes than being on the same grounds as your friends all day every day.

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

Most likely returning to Corpus Christi for another year of junior hockey.

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