For most NCAA Division III student-athletes, their athletic experience is an opportunity to extend their passions for a short while before settling in to the nine to five, suit and tie job routine. But for men’s hockey alumnus, Kyle Richards ’14, his four years as a Spartan defined his professional ambitions.
“The experiences I had at Castleton fueled my passion for the sport,” he said. “Playing college hockey made me realize there isn’t anything else I’d rather do with my life.”
After earning his Bachelor of Science in Sports Administration in 2014, Richards went on to become the associate head hockey coach at the University of Alabama, an American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I Program. Additionally, Richards takes to the ice today with National Elite Hockey as a skills instructor.
“Being able to share my knowledge of the game to others is a great joy and I learned a bulk of my knowledge from my experiences as a student-athlete at Castleton,” Richards said.
As an athlete, Richards was named to the ECAC East All-Academic Team three times and was named the Spartans Most Improved Player in his sophomore season. As a senior, he netted four goals and dished off nine assists in his 20 game appearances.
For Richards, he said the Castleton facilities were an attraction when deciding where to spend his four years. He recalled how the well-maintained game and training atmospheres created a drive to always give his greatest effort. However, he said it was the relationships he built that made his Castleton experience so worthwhile.
“My teammates were, and still are, a huge influence in my life. The coaches demonstrated an unparalleled devotion to our team and the energy they brought everyday really influenced me,” he said. “The fans are the best in college sports. They made me feel like I was home every time we stepped onto the ice and so many of them took us in as second sons, which makes it so easy to call Castleton home.”
Though many miles may separate the blades of his skates from Spartan Arena, Richards said he still appreciates the privilege it is the wear Spartan green.
“Being a Spartan means the world to me,” he said. “But I don’t consider myself a former Spartan because I believe that once you step foot onto campus and compete for Castleton, you’re a Spartan for life.”