|Jeff LoVecchio |
After sustaining a concussion last summer while skating near his home in Missouri, the forward was forced to miss the entire 2008-09 season as a result of post-concussion syndrome.
“It was the hardest year of my life,” said LoVecchio. “Honestly, I knew that I loved hockey, and that’s what I wanted to do, but it was killing me not being able to skate, work out, anything.
“I really saw how it can be taken away in an instant, and I’m just going to work my hardest to get back into shape and be a professional hockey player.”
LoVecchio, a 6'2, 195-pound left wing, played three collegiate seasons for Western Michigan University. He turned pro with the Providence Bruins at the end of his junior season and played 14 regular season contests and appeared in six playoffs games with the P-Bruins before the concussion put a hold on his hockey career.
However, knowing what it is like to miss an entire hockey season has motivated LoVecchio to train harder both on and off the ice. The 23-year-old admits to spending upwards of three to four hours each day at a local gym this summer, but is quick to add that his intensity on the ice and in the weight room is matched by his relaxed personality off the ice.
“On the ice, I’m an energy guy, third, fourth line player, and I have to muck it up in the corners and probably be a lot meaner,” said LoVecchio. “If I’m not at the rink or in the weight room I’m pretty chill.”
And while many of his teammates spend their summers exerting themselves by hitting the links, LoVecchio has no intention of leaving his pool lounge chair to join them.
“Basically I’m a bum,” he said. “I always tell people I like the left extreme and the right extreme. I like hockey, boxing and working out, and then I like laying by the pool and watching TV and movies, and the in between like golf and bowing, I’m not into that.”
LoVecchio may joke about his "laziness" in his spare time, but there is no joking when it comes to getting back on the ice.
“I’m just that much hungrier and that much more excited to be out there,” he said. “I have to be the most excited person in the world to play hockey right now.”