Charlie Marchese got his first pair of hockey skates when he was 3 years old. At first he wasn’t very adept at skating, but over the next few years he became a capable inline hockey player. Those who play inline hockey, more likely than not, tend to be better ice hockey players as well, said his dad, Charlie Sr. Maybe that’s why the sport means so much to the 18-year-old Columbine High School senior.
“All my friends tell me I’m always watching hockey videos, thinking about or talking about hockey,” Marchese said. “My goalie coach told me (that) to get where I want to, it’s got to be a full-time commitment.”
In other words, hockey is his life. He works out at least once a day, and he’s on the ice five times a week. And he’s pretty good at it as well.
Marchese, who has played for the Foothills Flyers and works at The Edge Ice Arena, has played in 38 games the past three season for the Columbine Rebels. He’s made 1,283 career saves for a .902 save percentage and a 3.88 goals-against average. He had a career-best 3.26 GAA last season. So what’s next? How about a trip to Switzerland?
Marchese has been invited to represent the United States, the state of Colorado and Foothills hockey as a member of the Colorado Ski Country select hockey team, which will travel to and play in Engleberg, Switzerland, from March 30 to April 7. Quite a nice way to spend spring break, even if it’s a week late.
Marchese and his teammates will compete against some of Europe’s best players in the same age group. They’ll tour churches and museums and take in the Swiss Alps.
Marchese, like other players, had to apply for the team via, essentially, a resume through the CCM Showcase and U.S. Junior developmental program. A select number of players — 16 in all — were chosen from throughout the country, representing 10 states.
It’s a big deal to get one’s name out there, even if it’s not cheap. The trip costs $4,000 per player. As of March 10, Marchese had raised approximately $2,500. His airline ticket has been purchased, but a little more financial help wouldn’t hurt. The trip has to be paid for by March 15. People can donate online by going to http://www.cscs-selects.com and clicking on Marchese’s profile. Credit card donations can be made there.
The whole scenario, especially going overseas and playing for a week against quality competition of the same age, is mind-boggling if not a little bit nerve-racking, Marchese said.
“It doesn’t feel real yet. I’m thinking about it, but I’m trying not to look too far into it,” he said. “It’s kind of surreal, kind of cool.”
There’s also some self-imposed pressure on Marchese’s broad shoulders. In his words, he can’t let everybody down, including himself. The plan is to play in summer showcases en route to the junior hockey ranks in the Tier II North American Hockey League. There are currently 24 teams in four divisions. That path could, in turn, lead to the Division I college ranks.
“If hockey is a means for getting into school, a vehicle to get a good education, then it’s all for the right reasons,” the senior Marchese said.
Again, it bears repeating, hockey is Charlie Marchese’s life. There is little doubt of that.
Contact Michael Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.