First up on Lightning League Legends we have John Xander Pivovarnik. If you judge books by their covers, or in this case, by “names”. He could possibly have the most hockey name of all time and that’s exactly what Piv is. He lives and breathes hockey. He graduated from Newsome High School in 2018. The 6 foot 2 defensemen is the type of kid who’s smile lights up a room upon entering. Piv played for the Newsome Wolves all four years of high school and without a doubt left a lasting impression on his coaches, friends, and the entire LHSHL.
The first time I met this young man, was last summer when we took some LHSHL players on what would be our first installment of EDP. Right off the bat, I could tell this kid was a go-getter. After only knowing me for a few seconds, he immediately offered to be my navigator, running the GPS for me as we traveled up and down the city of Boston. I knew he was a leader right away. As soon as we got to the first rink for our first game, he was the first to go from his “dress clothes” attire to his warmup gear. He knew that upon entering the building this wasn’t a time to mess around, it was time for business. He wasn’t asked to, but was the one in the locker room who got everyone out for warmups. You really can’t teach that type of stuff to kids this age. It has to come naturally and Piv has that.
The last time we saw Piv on the ice here in the LHSHL, was in the 2017-2018 season. The Newsome senior played in 18 games that year. Tallied 9 goals and 6 assists. He also managed to lead the league with 96 penalty minutes which is something you hate to see but I promise you he’s no goon, just an intense player!
But enough of me talking, let’s get to know Piv..
“I was actually born in Tennessee, I lived there until I was about five years old when we moved to Florida. I played roller hockey for two years because I didn’t think I was ready to play on ice yet and not to mention, roller hockey was really big in Lakeland back then. At around eight years old I went to the Ice Sports Forum first the first time. From there I played travel and High School hockey. I was a four-year player for Newsome. My senior year I decided not to play travel at all and just play for Newsome.”
You don’t need Piv or me to tell you that arguably one of the hardest challenges in life is the transition from high school to college. Mommy and daddy don’t hold your hand to cross the streets in college and figuratively speaking, you are on your own. But Piv took the transition like the champ he is. “First things first. I found out really quick that I was not in Florida anymore. I was out in the middle of nowhere. It was a little difficult getting acclimated but once school and hockey started it was beyond easy because all day, all week, every week I had somewhere to be. I had class 4 days a week. Practice 5 days a week. 4 study halls and of course hitting the gym as much as possible. Besides academics and living on your own for the first time, the best test Piv had was getting ready for the mentality of playing at this level. “College hockey is a different animal; it pushes you to the limit. You either give 100% or you find yourself behind in class or getting healthy scratched from games. The best advice I can give a kid looking to play at the next level and is serious about doing it, is to take everything seriously and you have to focus when you’re out there because there is always going to be someone who wants to be on your team. You have to want it more! “
As for next year, Piv is still weighing out his options. He has offers to play at other schools. He loved playing at The University of Providence this past year but the distance from home could play a factor in his next decision. No matter where he plays, Xander will always be a Legend of our League and we look forward to supporting wherever he plays next.
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