Written by The Illustrated News Editorial Staff Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00
Portledge seventh-grader Vincent Salgado, of New Hyde Park, traveled to Quebec, Canada in February to play goaltender for the Junior Islanders hockey team in the 55th Quebec Pee Wee Hockey Tournament. Salgado joins 17 other elite players to participate against 2,300 young hockey stars from 16 countries in what is considered the most important minor hockey tournament in the world. Salgado began skating at age 4 and playing hockey on the house league at the Iceland Rink near his home in New Hyde Park at 8 years old and has since played on a variety of Long Island teams, including the Ice Cats and the Gulls.
Now, Salgado is skating under Frank Barker, current assistant and goalie coach of the Junior Islanders Hockey team, with amazing results. He credits Barker with building both his physical and mental skills, and says he feels, “transformed.” His experience speaks to the importance of good coaching in building character. If it were not for Frank Barker, “my mentor,” he says, he would not be at Portledge, where he feels supported academically and on the ice, with a flexible schedule that allows him to pursue his dream. The Portledge
Middle School program emphasizes character development through trying, learning from mistakes, and trying again in all pursuits: academic, artistic, athletic and social action.
It is a philosophy that resonates with Salgado, who says simply,“I need to push if I want to succeed.”
On the eve of playing in the World Pee Wee Championships, which attracts 200,000 fans per year and is responsible for introducing legendary players like Wayne Gretzky, Guy Lafleur and Mario Lemieux, is Salgado nervous?
“Inside I get nervous. That’s natural. But I’m focusing on now, year by year, game by game, it’s all now.”