What happens to graduated Gaels?

It’s a hardtransition out of university sport 

Even graduation can’t break the connection between an athlete and their team.
Supplied by Robin Kasem
When athletes graduate from Queen’s, they’re not only leaving Kingston, but also leaving behind an integral part of their identity. 
This past spring, Patrick Sanvido, BEd ’22, transitioned out of his position as captain of the Men’s Hockey team. He will now split his time as both a substitute teacher for the Limestone Public Schoolboard and an assistant coach for the Queen’s Men’s Hockey team. 
“It’s easily summed up as the greatest decision I’ve ever made, to be a member of the Queen’s community as an athlete, specifically as a hockey player,” Sanvido told The Journal. 
Men’s Hockey, and specifically head coach Brett Gibson, have built a special culture focused on maintaining community that’s hard to leave. 
“If I could’ve done more school, I would’ve come back and done more school to play on this team,” Sanvido said. 
“I’m almost 26 years old and I’ve been Patrick the hockey player for 22, 23 years,” Sanvido said. “My life has literally revolved around hockey for 12 months of the year for, let’s say, 22 years.”
This is the experience of most student athletes. When playing for your school, life becomes so impacted by sport that the two are not easily separated.
In many ways this interconnectedness is a good thing. Sports teach players determination, how to set goals, life lessons, and communication skills—all valuable skills that are transferrable to other facets of life later in life. They don’t help make the transition any easier, though. 
“It’s made me who I am, not just on the ice, it’s made me who I am off the ice too,” Sanvido explained.
In navigating this identity crisis, however, Sanvido has grounded himself in two elements of the Men’s Hockey Team: alumni and coaching.
“Whether you played here in the ‘80s or if you played here last year, if you were to run into any alumni we both played on the Queen’s hockey teams, it’s like an automatic common understanding between us that is super special, and I don’t know if you would get that anywhere else,” Sanvido explained. “It’s the culture that Gibby has fostered over his 18 or 19 years, but it’s also the  alumni.”
Men’s Hockey alumni have fed off the culture created by coach Gibson and maintained an incredible relationship with each new generation of players. This culture means that despite graduation, Sanvido can stay connected to the team for generations to come.
Sanvido is also fortunate to have an assistant coaching position with the team in the fall. 
“It was kind of a best of all worlds situation. It’s a great transition, you’re not just going cold turkey.”
He hopes to pursue coaching quite seriously in the future, and this new position will help kickstart that dream.
“For me it’s kinda keeping that door open of potentially a coaching career,” Sanvido said. “I do consider myself very lucky to be able to jump in at this level.”
While not all graduated athletes may pursue coaching, they can all fall back on what they’ve learned during their time at Queen’s. 
“For it to be gone pretty much like that is hard, but you learn so much along the way that I’m sure I’ll never lose,” Sanvido said. “The experiences I’ve had through hockey and the people I’ve met through hockey will last a lifetime.”

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