Alvarez Acquired by the Rangers…Army Rangers
January 12th, 2013 | Comments (2)
Trenton, NJ – Sometimes you just come across stories that write themselves, even more so in the world of sports. Marcel Alvarez is a young man. He’s also a hockey player, a defenseman. On top of that, he’s a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army. 2nd Lt. Alvarez served as the Captain of the Black Knights of West Point as a senior and recorded 59 career points in his four seasons with Army. He then played three games with the Trenton Titans to round out his 2011-12 season. He’s rejoined the Titans this season in training camp and was able to start playing games with them in December. On January 13th, 2nd Lt. Alvarez departs for Fort Benning, GA for Army Ranger School. On January 12th, the night before, Titans defenseman Marcel Alvarez will play his final game for the Trenton squad, Military Appreciation Night.
When asked why he chose Army, Marcel reflected back to his first visit to the West Point campus. “The facilities were beautiful, first class. Great education, guaranteed job upon graduation, and a good job at that, and camaraderie amongst students” were among the reasons Alvarez reeled off.
As a United States soldier, one would expect the training to take its toll, but it also helped shape Alvarez into a better athlete on the ice. “Physically it helped me a lot, it was very demanding.” He added, “Couple that with the workouts of a hockey player, a Division-I athlete, and the drive to be a better athlete, better physically conditioned for the military demands makes you better over four years.”
For a soldier, it’s more than being physical though, it’s mental as well. The same goes for a hockey player. When asked about the mental similarities and how they affected each other, Marcel said, “Yeah absolutely, I think the mental aspect is a lot bigger than the physical aspect.” He quickly brought up an example that most college athletes don’t go through; “On game days, there’s no sleeping in. You’re up at 6:30am, you may have a few classes which take you right up to pregame meal, and then you have to face a tough team looking to leave with 2 points.”
He is not the only member of the Alvarez family who has experienced this. His younger brother, Maurice, is a sophomore defenseman with the Black Knights. When asked if he had anything to do with bringing his brother to West Point, Marcel said it was his brother’s decision. “He came to me and started picking my brain about the campus, the classes, the amount of work that needed to be put in,” Marcel stated. Maurice got the better half of the Alvarez size genes, as he stands about 2-4 inches taller and weighs about 15-20 lbs heavier than his big brother. But Marcel reminded us that he is still the big brother when asked who the better player was; “he’s a bit bigger, maybe a little faster, but I’m still the big brother and I can take him,” Alvarez said with a grin.
Asked how similar being a captain on the ice is to being a 2nd Lt. off of it, without hesitation Alvarez said there were major similarities. He mentioned how both players and soldiers looked to you for leadership and/or advice, and you need to lead by example on the ice, in the classroom, weight room, or during training.
Alvarez was privileged to face the Russian Junior National team in an exhibition game while with the Black Knights, a game that ended far apart on the scoreboard. Marcel, however, recalls the game as being very chippy and closer than the story the scoreboard told. “We didn’t have a full bench. The game was around Christmas time and there were a few snowstorms, and it turned into a bit of a tune up game for us.”
When the Titans were brought up as the subject, Alvarez was luminous. “Love it” he responded when asked how he’s enjoyed his time with Trenton so far. He added “they could have given the roster spot to any other player who walked through the door, but they didn’t. When I was ready to go, they had a spot for me.” Alvarez feels strongly about how he’s progressed as a hockey player with the Titans as well. Getting over a dozen games at the professional level, he feels that his overall game has improved, and his ability to keep up with the speed of the game dramatically advanced too.
As you’d expect from one of our nation’s gallant soldiers, the 2nd Lt. was eager to take on the new challenge awaiting him at Fort Benning. He expects a very difficult training regimen but looks forward to the opportunity to move forward with his military career.
In closing, we asked Marcel to share any advice for current high school athletes who may excel at their sport of choice yet are interested in joining the armed services. He said that it is a very important decision that requires much thought, attention, and inner reflection. He added that the United States Army is a great decision for any young student, and he would not change a thing.
Marcel Alvarez’s final game as a Trenton Titan will be Saturday, January 12th, 2013. Fittingly, this is the Trenton Titans Military Appreciation Night presented by Defending the Blue Line. On this evening, the Titans will honor all the men and women that are serving or have served this great country, including Trenton Titan, Marcel Alvarez. For more information on Military Appreciation Night, please contact Michael “Woody” Heberlein, (609) 789-5502, or visit here.