Men’s varsity hockey is the sport that everyone has their eyes on this semester. Ice Knight spectators should be paying especially close attention to R.J. Burns. Burns is a senior forward on the team and a political science major here at Geneseo. Along with being captain of the Ice Knights, he has a lot going for him.
Burns originally is from Pearl River, N.Y., but considers himself a true Geneseo Knight. With the crowd chanting, “Geneseo!” as he glides across the ice, it’s hard not to bleed blue and white. Hockey has been a part of Burns’ life for the past 17 years and his father is responsible for sparking his interest in the sport.
“My dad started us out skating on my grandpa’s pool in the winter … it just kind of grew from there,” Burns said.
Hockey isn’t just something that Burns’ father got him into, however; hockey has gone as far as keeping the two connected throughout the years, even with the inevitable reality that sons and fathers don’t always see eye to eye.
And after the past 17 years, hockey isn’t just a winter sport to Burns. Hockey has become a key part of who he is. You can’t have Burns without hockey and vice-versa—and he has no intention of giving up this part of himself anytime soon.
Burns strives to become a professional hockey player and to bring his talents to a bigger stage. Fame and fortune, however, isn’t why Burns wants to go professional; it’s because he never wants to give up this passion.
“I hope I will be fortunate enough to give back to the game that has given me so much,” Burns said.
Not only has playing hockey given him a sense of community, a family and an environment to learn how to deal with adversity, but it’s also given him a drive to go out and accomplish his goals—pun intended.
“Hockey will always be a part of who I am … it’s different than any other sport in the relationships that you gain over the years of playing [with] these guys; they become family and that’s something you can’t replace,” Burns said.
The most memorable moment in Burns’ hockey career here at Geneseo is winning the SUNYAC Championship last year, not only for his school and teammates, but mainly for former Ice Knight Matthew Hutchinson. The love and commitment between the teammates on this team is something that can’t be replaced. That is the crown jewel in the strengths the team has going for them.
Burns decided he wanted to become a Geneseo Ice Knight when he saw the wonderful standing this college has on an academic level and a DIII level. Additionally, he knew Geneseo was where he wanted to go to college when he saw the unique and memorable culture that Geneseo has to offer.
After he graduates, if playing professional hockey doesn’t work out, he plans on going into digital web marketing or analytics. Burns has been working with web marketing since last summer and into this school year with a company called Citrix. When he isn’t focusing on web marketing, hockey and everything else a college student has to worry about, Burns likes to spend his spare time playing golf.
“Hockey will always be a part of who I am and I think anyone who has played a sport will never totally leave it behind,” Burns said. “Going to the rink to work every day with the guys you love and a game you love is a pretty good deal.”