A unique family hat trick of three brothers can be seen around campus and on the ice playing with the SUNY Oswego men’s club hockey team.

Forward Andrew Cardi is used to the routine, as he is moving into his sixth season on the team. A graduate student in the master’s in strategic communications program, Andrew did his undergraduate degree in business at Oswego and decided that it was worth sticking around.

Andrew said as a freshman, Oswego’s rink and facilities really appealed to him, as well as their strong business program. But his brothers were not initially inclined to join him.

“When Drew decided he was going here, I’d never heard of the school,” said Matthew Cardi, a junior and defenseman on the team. 

But once he saw the level of hockey being played, and the connections on the team, he changed his mind. Eventually, youngest brother Nicholas, a freshman and forward, made the same decision.

Now, all three brothers are playing alongside each other, as numbers 4, 5 and 6.

“We’ve been playing together our whole lives,” Andrew said.

The brothers’ age gap prevented them from playing on organized teams until now, as Andrew moves into his second year of graduate school. “I could have finished at home. [... But] I never thought I’d play on the same team as Nick,” he said.

Hockey can be a stressful and demanding sport, with a lot of competition for a spot on the team, and then continuing pressure to make the lineup.

“It was definitely stressful,” Andrew said. “You go through two to three nights of tryouts, and then find out on the third night.”

While his brothers had the advantage of already having some connections to the coach and team through Andrew, they had to compete for their slots as well.

“The kids I was going against were much taller and stronger than I was,” Matthew said. “Making the team was probably one of the best feelings I’ve had in my life.”

Nicholas had a mini tryout in the spring and kept in contact with the coach over the summer. 

‘Every practice is a tryout’

But the work doesn’t stop when you get a slot. “Every practice is a tryout,” Nicholas said.

Andrew agreed, saying: “Once you make the team it’s nice, but you have to continue to work to make the lineup.”

The hockey schedule can be demanding in conjunction with a college student schedule. The team practices Tuesday to Thursday nights, with one of these practices running until 11 p.m. Games take place on weekends, leaving little time for relaxation.

The brothers arrived on campus early for practice as well, and will not have a weekend off until Thanksgiving break in November. They then have some time off during the winter recess, but come back early to work until playoffs in February. Then, if successful, they could move on to nationals after that.

“[The season] flies by,” Matthew said. He expressed feeling unsure about what to do with his time once everything had ended.

One highlight of their season includes a trip to SUNY Stony Brook for the first time in October, which is only a little over half an hour from their hometown of Rockville Center. They were excited to share that they will have many family members able to attend.

Matthew said that despite the difficult schedule, the connections on the team make it easier. “You’re surrounded by the same people who are going through it with you,” he said.

“You’re here to try and win a championship at the end of the year,” Andrew added.

Strong connections

All three brothers expressed a strong connection to the other players on the team.

Matthew said that he and Andrew both live near each other off-campus and often like to host dinners for the team. Nicholas lives on campus.

“My roommate is from Long Island also; I’ve played with him my whole life,” Nicholas said. “We have our own little friend group with all the hockey kids in the dorm.”

All three brothers expressed having many “off-ice” memories, as Matthew called it, with the other players on the team. But one memory from a game stuck out to Andrew.

“It was my sophomore year; we were in playoffs,” he said. “We were in quarterfinals and we were losing with under a minute left, and I ended up scoring a goal to tie us to send us into overtime.” This goal made it possible for Oswego to claim victory in overtime.

This all happened with Andrew “not knowing my dad was going to surprise me. He had a flight to come see me play in the semifinal game” soon afterward, he said. “Thank God I ended up scoring that goal!”

Having played hockey their whole lives, all three brothers said they were thankful to their family for getting them to where they are.

“We probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our parents, so I definitely want to thank them,” Andrew said.

The Oswego club hockey team competes against top-level opponents in the Division I American College Hockey Association.

The team started the season with a win streak, and hope to keep collecting victories. Their next home game takes place on Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m., where Oswego will play Canisius College in the Deborah F. Stanley Arena and Convocation Hall.

This weekend includes the aforementioned game near the Cardis' hometown against Stony Brook.

For more information on the team and a schedule, visit the Oswego men’s club hockey Instagram account.

–- Written by Mackenzie Shields of the Class of 2024