Former captain Sanvido returning to Gaels organization

Former Queen’s Gaels captain Patrick Sanvido has joined the hockey team as an assistant coach for the 2022-23 season. Photo via Robin Kasem/ Queen’s Gaels.

Earlier this week, the Queen’s Gaels men’s hockey team announced that a familiar face will be returning to the club next season, as former captain Patrick Sanvido joins the team as an assistant coach. Sanvido played for Queen’s for the past four seasons, scoring nine goals and 17 assists as one of the club’s main defencemen, and helping the Gaels win the coveted Queen’s Cup in 2019. 

The recent graduate said the opportunity to join the team came about in part because Queen’s has a habit of hiring former players, with the club rotating through a number of assistant coaches in recent years. “That one role has been hard to find, or at least [has been] vacant going into every year,” Sanvido said. “We’ve had guys like Kevin Bailey, Spencer Abraham, and then last year Braeden Mercier… [all] former players that had stepped into that role… I kind of jumped at the opportunity when [Head Coach Brett Gibson] mentioned it.” 

For Sanvido, the new position seemed like the right next step in his hockey career, considering his future ambitions. “I do want to be a coach someday, I think. So, it was kind of a logical [move] if I was going to find a way to stick around Kingston and still be involved with this team,” he shared. 

Prior to joining the Gaels, the defenceman spent five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) as a member of the Windsor Spitfires from 2012 to 2016, before ending his major junior career with the Sudbury Wolves. Throughout his time in the OHL, Sanvido played in 284 games, scoring eight goals and 35 assists. In the 2014 NHL entry draft, Sanvido was selected 195th overall by the Dallas Stars.

While previous coaches may have taken a more subdued approach to their duties on the bench, Sanvido wants to be “a little bit more involved,” he said. “I want to be a motivator… [I’ll] try to absorb as much as I can, but also, if I have any input which is applicable, I want to offer that.”

Considering the high calibre of players university hockey attracts, Sanvido indicated that his job will be to help players make marginal gains. “Guys at this level [are] pretty well developed as players, so it’s not like you’re a junior coach having to teach them how to play hockey… If I see a small thing that they can do or expose, it’s gonna make them that one per cent better. I’m hoping that’s what I’ll be able to bring to the table.”

The Guelph native is no stranger to leadership roles, having served as team captain in Windsor for three seasons, before donning the “C” with the Queen’s Gaels. With several years as a captain under his belt, Sanvido said that experience should lend itself well to being an assistant coach. 

“As a coach, you’re near the top of the food chain, you’re the ultimate leader on the team, and the relationship between the coach and the captain is going to be strong,” Sanvido stated. “The captain has to follow up with [the coach’s] message, they have to be on the same page. So I think it goes hand-in-hand, as far as coaching and then having that experience as captain [is concerned].”

“If you look at the NHL or [other] coaches that get to a high level, a lot of them were captains… And so, I’m hoping that it translates well. It’s just having that experience of being a leader… it’s going to hopefully be very beneficial and make it an easier learning curve,” Sanvido added. 

The Gaels come into this season following a disappointing early playoff exit at the end of last year. With some of the new additions to the roster, as well as the maturity of the veterans on the squad, Sanvido believes this new team will have a lot in common with the OUA Championship-winning team of 2019. “We have a few young guys coming in, but we have a team that has a similar makeup to the year we won… Our team was young last year, and I think seeing how devastating it is to get beat out of the playoffs at this level [will] go a long way.”

While he may not be lacing up his skates as one of the Gaels top defencemen, Sanvido is excited to be writing the next chapter in his journey with the sport. “Obviously, it’s in a different role, and I have to take a step back in that sense, but I think just getting the opportunity to see what actually goes on behind that closed door… is going to be super beneficial for me, and to get to still be involved with the game is exciting.” 

The Queen’s Gaels officially kick off the 2022-23 regular season on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec against the UQTR Patriotes. The Gaels’ home opener takes place on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022 at the Kingston Memorial Centre, as Queen’s welcomes the Ottawa Gee-Gees to town. 

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