When the final horn sounded on their Castleton hockey careers neither Reid Lesswing ’14 , nor Jess Cameron ’16, were ready to leave behind the programs they had spent four years building. Since tossing their graduation caps, Lesswing and Cameron have made their way back to Spartan Arena, just with a different view this time around.
Now a graduate assistant coach for the men’s hockey program while pursuing his masters in sports leadership with a focus in administration, Lesswing made his return to Spartan Arena after playing professionally for a stint with the Louisiana Ice Gators.
“Hockey is my passion,” Lesswing said. “After being here for four years I knew I would be welcomed back with open arms.”
Lessing said his student-athlete experience drove his desire to return to Castleton to begin his coaching career and that his transition from skates to a suit on game day was made seamless by the respect his former teammates have shown him in his new role.
“As an athlete I loved Castleton. The school supports you so much,” he said. “I thought it would be a great opportunity and I love being back with the guys winning games.”
Just a half a season into his coaching career, Lesswing has already proved to be an asset to the Spartans. This fall, he led the squad through the preseason and managed recruiting efforts until Head Coach Bill Silengo came on board in mid-September. Despite these personal accomplishments, he said the most rewarding moment in his coaching career thus far was being a part of the team’s 7-0 victory at home over St. Michael’s earlier this season.
Echoing Lesswing’s selflessness, Cameron put the team accomplishments above the personal achievements she experienced as a goaltender coach for the women’s hockey team. Most notably, she said she takes pride in the team avenging last year’s season-ending loss to UMass Boston 2-1 at home.
“It’s pretty great to beat UMass Boston who ended our season and to see the freshmen working so hard, not knowing what that game even meant,” she said.
The 2016 D3Hockey.com All-American and team Most Valuable Player began this season running goalie workshops, but has since stepped off the ice to focus on her career as the director of women’s hockey at Neutral Zone, a hockey scouting and news site.
As a student-athlete, Cameron said she witnessed Castleton’s women’s hockey program grow from one that strove to be above .500 into one that earned a No. 6 national ranking and with 17 victories set the record for most wins in a season in program history. Despite her once again changing role, she said she intends to continue to support the women’s hockey team as much as possible.
“I want to always be a resource for them,” she said.