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Hockey Keeps Cavosie's Mind Diverted from Grief

By Kent Youngblood

Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, September 14, 2003

For an hour, in a nearly nonstop scrimmage, Marc Cavosie had skated up and down the rink. Passing, shooting, hitting, working. Blissfully, not thinking about anything but hockey.

As one of scores of players at the Wild training camp, Cavosie has spent the past couple of days taking part in scrimmages at Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights. This can be an overwhelming time. Cavosie is not long removed from college, with one season of pro hockey under his breezers. He is realistic about what his time here means.

"You just try to show them you have a good work ethic," he said. "You want to improve, every day. You're not necessarily going to make the team right here, but you want to show you're ready to move up when the opportunity presents itself."

Cavosie, a center, is one of many young players here, soaking in the experience. But Cavosie, who spent his first pro season with Houston of the AHL last year, is dealing with more than most.

On July 10, Cavosie lost his father. Thomas Cavosie, recently retired after working 32 years for the New York State Department of Education and Social Services, was on a fishing trip in Newfoundland. At the end of a long day of fishing, a storm blew up. The boat took on water and capsized. The 55-year-old Vietnam War veteran drowned.

Suddenly, his father - who had always been there for him - was gone.

"I remember him coming out to Traverse City to work the camp," Cavosie said of the rookie camp held in Michigan every year. "I remember him coming down on the bus to Houston. Honestly, the pain is not going to go away for me right away. But it's good to get on the ice and play again."

It's at times like that - during a full-speed scrimmage - when Cavosie's thoughts don't wander to more difficult things.

Thomas Cavosie was everything a hockey parent should be. Supportive, not demanding. Excited, not exacting. He worked as an equipment manager at Marc's prep school. When Marc and his brother Eric stayed near their Albany, N.Y., home and played hockey at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he did the same thing there.

"He loved the game through me and my brother," said Cavosie, whose brother is going to try out for Boise of the ECHL. "It's a tremendous loss for me. The only thing I can do is try to move on. I mean, the [organization] has been great. A bunch of them came to the funeral, which was nice of them. It says a lot. . . ."

"I was really close with him. My brother and my sister [Kimberly] were, also. It was tough on all of us, it being so sudden and tragic. But the last month, maybe three weeks, I started to buckle down [on hockey]. It took my mind off of it, and that helped."

Cavosie knows this likely isn't the year he'll make the step to the NHL. But, like several of his Houston teammates, he is drinking in the experience of being at an NHL camp, trying to catch the eye of the Wild braintrust.

"We tell them two things," Wild General Manager Doug Risebrough said. "First, you have to be patient. . . . At some point if you keep working hard, something good will happen. We notice hard work."

"The other thing is, you know yourself better than we know you. So it's important that you play the way you think you can play and not the way you think we want you to play."

Cavosie, who played college hockey with his brother, finished his career at RPI with 48 goals and 61 assists in 97 games. He was named conference player of the year and a first-team All-America in his junior season. He scored 13 goals and had 19 points in 54 games for Houston last season. He added eight points, including two game-winning goals, in 19 playoff games.

"Last year was a maturing experience for me," he said. "Not only on the ice but off the ice. I mean, it was the first time living away from my hometown."

Cavosie had just returned home from a vacation when he got the news about his father. He has been dealing with it ever since. Through the pain, there is motivation.

"Before, I played a lot for him, because he helped me so much," Cavosie said. "When he'd come down to visit, it would give me a little boost to play, to show him what he had done for me."

"Now? A lot of the motivation is to play and to try to make it. He always looked forward to me playing in the NHL."