From Between The Pipes To Behind The Microphone

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[Josh Popsie has moved from being the center of attention on the ice to being the center of attention on-stage- Photo courtesy of Josh Popsie]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

Josh Popsie glides onto the ice and finds his familiar spot in between the creases. He takes his stick, bangs both sides of the pipes and stares down at the opening face-off about to take place in front of him.

As St. Bonaventure University’s Club Hockey team’s starting goaltender, Popsie is used to being the center of attention — the hero when the team wins a hard-fought overtime game or the goat when the ear-piercing horn sounds an opponents goal.

But as Popsie skates off the ice, takes off his pads and unwinds from the mental exhaustion it takes by being a goaltender, he thinks about music. He thinks about lyrics, beats and inspirations behind each of the words he visualizes in his head.

Why?

Because while Popsie’s teammates are used to hearing the pop of his glove saves or the puck careening off the post as he cuts off the attacking angle, off the ice he also deals with the static of the microphone as he records his newest song.

Popsie signed with Native Samurai Records, a company based in Seattle, Washington, on Jan. 15, 2013, fulfilling another dream that he’s had since he was young.

“I’ve played hockey since I was two years old. I’ve played on travel teams my entire life,” Popsie said. “But I also played drums as a kid. I always wrote lyrics in high school and it was something that I took pride in.”

But Popsie never once thought it was a dream that could be reached. The lyrics he would write during his time in high school — he only shared with friends, never to be shown to the world. However, the world would get their first listen of Popsie’s music just prior to him leaving for Oxford in June of 2012.

The Concord, New Hampshire native decided to put together a mixtape, done entirely on his own and recorded in a friend’s basement. He put the mixtape online for download thinking he would get at a best-case scenario, just 200 or 300 downloads.

He was wrong.

“I got back from Oxford and it had over 3,500 downloads. I was like, ‘what?” Popsie said. “I knew the music was good, but I knew it was a bit different. My stuff is lyrically-driven, not about cars and money, but it hit me that I can do this.”

But it has not come as a surprise to those who know Popsie best.

“He’s really passionate about everything he does, so it’s no surprise he dedicates a lot of his time to his music,” Sean Perhacs, Popsie’s teammate said. “I know he writes a lot of songs whether to pass the time or to just improve. So matter what, he’s always working on it, just like his game.

Right.

Because Popsie is taking on the challenge of being a recording artist while also being a student who is aiming to graduate with his master’s degree in Intergrated Marketing Communcations. And the challenge is more than many can imagine.

While many students only have to wake up for class, Popsie finds himself having to wake up at 6 a.m. in order to work on collaborations for his music.

“I produced two songs with a guy over in England, so with the time difference, I’m up at 6 a.m.,” Popsie said. “I’m trying to go back and forth with this guy, which way you want to take this song, early in the morning. I have work, class and music has literally taken over my life.”

But the way Popsie has handled himself by both continuing to work hard and focus on the task at hand is not surprising. It’s the same mentality he took to the ice with him during his time on St. Bonaventure’s Club Hockey team.

“Popsie was always a leader. He knew how to combine fun, but also keep a winning mentality, something that not many players can do,” D.J. Hromowyk said of his teammate. “Popsie would be all smiles but if things needed to turn around, he was never afraid to say something.”

And that’s the reason Popsie has engulfed himself into the world of music.

Music is a way for a person to express themselves and the feelings they have on certain subjects. Popsie is no exception.

Take a listen to his single, “Emilie,” a song he made in memory of his friend and the pain, fun and memories are immediately apparent in the lyrics that come out of your headphones.

But Popsie said he would not have been prepared to do any of this without the experience of putting his pads on and standing in the crease, facing down a team intent to put one into the back of the net he was protecting.

“It’s the most scrutinized position in any sport. It’s the one of the only positions where if you make one mistake, you lost your team the game,” Popsie said. “Having that kind of pressure has helped me with performing because you still get nervous, but I can deal with it better.”

While Popsie’s focus is no longer on making the critical saves in net, he is still dealing with the constant pressure of producing new music, slowly proving himself with every song he releases much like he did in net, one save at a time.

 Lazorm09@bonaventure.edu

Bonnies Hockey Clinches Postseason

[Photo courtesy of Josh Popsie ]

By Tommy Bellucco, Staff Writer, @TBellucco8

Playoff hockey anyone?

St. Bonaventure club hockey fans have been waiting a long time to hear those words.

The Bonnies have never before headed into the middle of February with playoff implications. But apparently no one told the current team.

The 2011-2012 St. Bonaventure Bonnies club hockey team must have had the winter break of a lifetime. 

Before the break, the team was 4-9-1 with a lot of potential to be a top team, but nothing to show for it. 

However, since starting a new semester, the Bonnies are 5-1, winning seven of their last nine games.

The obvious improvement and hard work earned the Bonnies the opportunity to clinch the playoffs this past weekend.

With three games in three days, St. Bonaventure needed to win the first one against Oswego State on Friday night in order to cement their playoff spot. 

With a roaring student section cheering them on at the William O. Smith Recreation Center in Olean, the Bonnies did just that. 

They defeated Oswego State 7-5. 

Following the high of clinching a playoff spot, the Bonnies suffered a 14-7 loss to Cornell, but came back to beat Ithaca 10-7 on Sunday. 

Not only has St. Bonaventure improved in the midst of this season, but they have managed to improve even more in regards to previous seasons. 

According to ACHAhockey.org, the Bonnies were 6-13-3 two years ago, and a mere 3-17-1 last season. 

When asked about the improvement, sophomore forward and co-captain Mike Iulianello said experience prompted a turnaround.

“After assigning two young captains to support our three senior leaders, we were forced to step into important roles to take advantage of our clean slate,” he said. “With such a young team, the few older guys had to be good role models on and off the ice.”

Iulianello is ranked 12th in points scored in the American Collegiate Hockey League with 48. 

Senior forward and co-captain Josh Piegay is right on his tail with 39 points. The third co-captain, sophomore defenseman Taylor Rosenberg, is leading the team in assists with 25. 

“It’s always nice to have them as an outlet,” said Rosenberg when asked about his dynamic offensive teammates, “Plus, it seems like they are always getting to the net.” 

An additional leader for the Bonnies, junior goalie Josh Popsie, is helping out from in net with a record of 5-3.

Alongside the upper classmen, the new additions to the team have become very valuable for the Bonnies this season. 

With the loss of multiple seniors from last year, the Bonnies needed freshmen to attribute to the scoring effort, and that is exactly what they have done.

Freshman have accounted for 27 of the Bonnies’ 99 goals.

The Bonnies take the ice for senior night against Cortland at 8:30 p.m. in the William O. Smith Recreation Center. 

Depending on the result of Cortland’s game Friday, this match-up could affect the seeding of the playoffs.

Playoffs will begin the following week and St. Bonaventure will be looking to make a run as a lower-seeded team. 

Popsie said the team is not satisfied with just making the playoffs, but wants to go far.

“We guaranteed playoffs at the beginning of this year, and we finally made it,” he said. “However, we are not content with just making it here. We consider ourselves contenders.”

Belluctm11@bonaventure.edu