By Ned Bekavac, The Guelph Tribune
Should I stay or should I go? That is the question that has been weighing on Mike Cazzola’s mind in recent weeks.
He chose go. The recent Ontario Hockey League graduate has committed to play hockey for the Acadia Axemen next season. It came down to Acadia and his hometown Guelph Gryphons.
“It was tough,” Cazzola said of the decision.
It would have been great to play for his hometown, he says, especially after spending his OHL career away from home.
But Cazzola says much of the decision came down to classroom matters. He liked the specifics of the kinesiology program at the school in eastern Canada.
The Guelph native spent some time talking to his parents, weighing the pros and cons, and in the end it was decided that Acadia was “the best thing for me,” he says.
Cazzola, a member of the Guelph Junior B lacrosse Regals, recently finished his final season in the OHL.
He and his Ottawa 67’s reached the Eastern Conference finals before falling in five games to Niagara. Cazzola, a long-time member of the Erie Otters, started the season with the last-place team before being traded to a contender.
“The way it ended was difficult,” says Cazzola, saying he and the 67’s expected to continue their playoff run. “But in the big picture, I couldn’t be happier.”
Cazzola, a centre, tallied more than 200 points in his OHL career. On the heels of his commitment to Acadia, the Tribune shot a few questions his way.
• • •
Q: What, specifically, has been the most memorable moment of your hockey career so far?
A: I have had many memories in my hockey career but the one that I will always remember is winning OFSAA (with the Bishop Macdonell Celtics in 2006) with my older brother (Geoff) and a lot of my close friends.
Q: What are the three most-played songs on your iPod?
A: Good time, by Alan Jackson; Thunder Rolls, by Garth Brooks; Boots, by Shania Twain.
Q: You play both hockey and lacrosse at a high level. Which would you say is more violent? Which is tougher on the body?
A: More violent would definitely be lacrosse, there is lots of slashing and crosschecking that goes unnoticed by the ref.Tougher on the body for me would have to be hockey, I have yet to break anything playing lacrosse. Whereas in hockey, just in the past two years I have broken my thumb and my scaphoid.
Q: The Trib’s paying the tab. What’s your tipple?
A: Vodka water or Erdinger beer.
Q: Hypothetically speaking: What do you think would happen if the Guelph Storm played the Guelph Gryphons in a seven-game series?
A: Well after seeing how well the Storm did in the National Hockey League draft, it would be a very close series. Many of the players in CIS are ex-OHL players and some of them are 25 years of age. I won’t answer that question, but I will say it would be very eventful to watch.
Q: What is one thing you really like about Guelph? And one you don’t?
A: I like how small Guelph is, and how everyone knows everyone. I don’t like how much Guelph is growing,
Q: I’m guessing “Cazzola” is Italian. Italy plays in the Euro Cup semifinals today against Germany. Will you be watching?
A: My parents (Robert and Marisa) were born in Guelph, but my old man moved back to Italy for a couple years then returned to Guelph. Absolutely, I will be watching the game, I’m just kind of upset the finals aren’t on the Sunday of Festival Italiano, like the World Cup was the year they won it (2006). But that is assuming they beat Germany today.
Q: What is one thing you are really looking forward to about moving out east, and what is one thing that stresses you out?
A: I am excited to reunite with my old teammate (fellow former OHLer Brett Thompson, who is headed to Acadia too), and continue my hockey career for another four years.
The one thing that stresses me out is being far from friends and family, and of course, school.
Q: Thanks Mike. Can you pass us your favourite:
• Band or musician: Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney
• Male actor: Morgan Freeman
• Female actor: Jennifer Aniston, Julianne Hough
• TV show: Sons Of Anarchy, Californication
• Movie: The Shawshank Redemption, The Count Of Monte Cristo
• Food: Eggs
• Drink: Chocolate milk
• Sport aside from hockey and lacrosse: Soccer
• Pro sports franchise: Chicago Blackhawks