U18 player Nick Cataldo has been part of all-star teams and played in big games during his days playing for the Marlton Chiefs. In 2014 his Cadet A team won the NSHA National Championship and finished the season an impressive 33-3. After a successful youth program career Nick has taken the next step in his ball hockey career. On Saturday, August 15th, Nick was selected to represent the USA in the U18 World Junior Ball Hockey Championships in July 2016.
General Manager Scott Tarzy had this to say when I asked him about Nick as a player and person: “Nick Cataldo is a very hard working dedicated young man. Nick demonstrates true team spirit and will be an integral part of the U18 squad. His work ethic, skill set, sportsmanship and hockey IQ will help lead the U18 team to many victories. I have known Nick since he was very young, he has always displayed the moral character, discipline, organization and commitment necessary to become successful no matter what challenges are laid in his path. He always sets a strong example with his effort and intensity in practices and or game situations. Coach Jones has a great young man to coach in Nick. I am looking forward to seeing Nick along with the rest of the U18 squad in action.”
ASHI asked Nick his thoughts on the evaluation camp and the upcoming championship in Sheffield, UK.
Can you talk about the evaluation camp and what you took away from the U18 tryout?
The camp was great, it definitely exceeded my expectations. Coming into this camp, I thought there would be many drills and not as much scrimmaging. In my opinion, playing the game is the best way to see what a player can do. Scrimmaging for the majority of our time really benefitted each prospect, because it allowed them to show everyone their game. I also was not sure about the talent the U18 group had to offer, but the talent was definitely there. I think many prospects proved themselves and everyone gave their all in an effort to make this team. Overall, Bobby Jones, Timmy Myers, Dan Gregory, Chris Caplan, Kevin Cooley, and Joe Silvario put together an excellent camp, and there was nothing but fantastic hockey at the U18 tryout.
What is the biggest obstacle the U18 team has to overcome to win gold in 2016?
I know, even before the team is picked, that this team will have a ton of talent; skill will not be the problem for this team. However, this team cannot be made up of individuals. This is not Cadet or Freshman hockey, so it’s crucial to play a team game. This team needs a leader to step up and make all these individuals into a well-oiled hockey machine. We will have all the parts; we just need to put them together. This will not be easy though, a lot of these kids have been rivals since they were seven years old, and some players might be holding grudges. Everyone is going to have to get over the past, and become very close friends if they want to win gold in 2016.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
There are two types of players. The players who like to win and the ones who hate to lose. Hatred towards losing gives you the drive to go the extra mile and win.
What do all good coaches have in common?
First, all good coaches have experience. They know the ins, outs, ups and downs of the game. They have been around the game long enough to know what to do in nearly every situation. Next, all good coaches are good teachers. This is not a sport where you can tell five guys to just go on a rink and play. Good coaches teach a system and their own game plan, they customize the style of the game to their own liking. If you can play your game and not the other team’s game, that is how you win. Thirdly, good coaches are smart and adaptive. If a line combination or a certain game plan is not working, a good coach will change it up. If you are being outplayed in a game that should be competitive, a good coach is making changes, because they will do whatever they can to win. These three elements make a good and successful coach.
Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Sure it is a cliché, but hard work pays off. I always try to put my heart and soul into everything I do, and nine times out of ten, I am going to be rewarded for my efforts.
What is your biggest accomplishment in ball hockey?
As of right now, winning the NSHA National tournament in 2014 is my biggest accomplishment in ball hockey so far. That team was something special to be a part of. With 33 wins and 3 losses, we were by far the best in the Cadet A division. I played alongside a great group of guys and that is no doubt my biggest accomplishment thus far.