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For the 15th episode of the Devils Official Podcast this season, our guest is Kyle Palmieri.
Palmieri will be the lone representative for the Devils at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis. It will be his second such appearance, having been there last year.
Palmieri talked about his unusual upbringing as a hockey player. With many NHLers laying claim to having grown up in a hockey family, Palmieri learned to skate at the same time as his dad.
"My dad never played hockey growing up. And so we weren't a hockey family by any means. When I went to a friend's house and they had a rink in their yard, that's where I learned to skate," Palmieri said. Me and my dad signed up for hockey together. so as we were learning to skate, he was also."
Palmieri's dad continued to play hockey and also became quite good at it.
"He played for a while and slowly moved up the ranks as far as leagues. And I think as he got older, he enjoyed being able to join the over 50 league but his body started to go a little bit on him," Palmieri added. "But he still gets on his skates once in awhile.
"He had to move from the checking league to the non-checking league probably when I was a young teenager. He had a blast with it and he really enjoyed it. And, I think looking back on his childhood, probably wishes he would've played hockey a little sooner."
Palmieri's dad did help contribute beyond just introducing him to the sport.
"Growing up on a farm in New Jersey, and him being in the field of construction and building houses. he was talented enough to build me a rink," he said. "It was one of those things that as I got older and I was able to get strong enough, the boards were only about a foot high.
"He didn't enjoy when I was getting strong enough on my skates to be able to knock him over the boards," Palmieri laughed.
"It's not really till later on in my teenage years at the time, I played right here. I played for the New Jersey Mavericks for a little while, which I don't think are still around, but, I went up through the ranks and just enjoyed hockey so much that I was signing up for teams left and right."
Palmieri talked about some of the more 'out there' teams that he skated for.
"I actually played a couple of years in squirts for the White Plains Plainsman which, I dunno what my parents were thinking driving into White Plains for practices and games. It's not an easy commute for anybody coming from New Jersey," he questioned. "But, no, I just love to play. The more I could play, the better."
The Devils also played a role as the youth program helped vault him up to the international stage.
"As time went on, I just kind of went up through the ranks of youth hockey and, eventually made the switch over to the New Jersey Devils youth program. And, from there, headed over to the national team."