Dominic DeStefano doesn’t let his injuries get in the way of his love for hockey


Dominic DeStefano

Dominic DeStefano at a hockey game with his father.

Junior Dominic DeStefano found himself abnormally pinned against a wall during his previous season of hockey.

After being pinned against the wall, Dominic did not think much about it until he went to the doctor’s office during the summer. There, he found out that he tore his PCL in his knee, preventing him from playing hockey this season, making him more than eager to return.

“I have only missed a few games due to a concussion,” Dominic said. “But if it was a knee injury or a brain motion, no matter what injury I had, I would play through it just out of love for the sport.”

Throughout his years of playing hockey, Dominic has discovered the struggle of playing through injuries. Normally, with minor ones, Dominic would just continue to play hockey.

His journey through hockey started five years ago with a recreational team but then quickly escalated into Grand Rapids Amateur Hockey Association (GRAHA). Once he entered high school, Dominic started playing for junior varsity teams.

The roots of Dominic’s admiration for hockey boils down to one thing: his childhood.

But if it was a knee injury or a brain motion, no matter what injury I had, I would play through it just out of love for the sport.”

— Dominic DeStefano

“[Hockey] has been a passion [of mine] growing up,” Dominic said. “I’ve grown up with everything in my house being hockey. [My family and I] built backyard ice rinks and did stuff like that. I’ve always been one to want to play it.”

Although Dominic adores the sport, he still finds it very difficult to play.

“[Hockey is] one of the hardest sports in the world,” he said. “But it can vary depending on the level that you play.”

Through his perseverance, Dominic has realized that playing hockey is an impeccable way for him to clear his busy mind.

“[Hockey] is a great mind relaxer even though you are constantly thinking,” Dominic said. “It’s just so relaxing because you hear all of the sounds of the skates on the ice and everything, and you think about what you are going to do next, but it’s not really taxing to what you were thinking about.”

Dominic has played an abundance of hockey games during his five years of playing on teams. In each team he has played on, Dominic has been able to keep in touch with all of his teammates.

“Every team that I have played on, I still communicate with all the guys,” Dominic recounted. “We all have pictures and random moments that someone will bring up, and [then] we can talk about it for hours.”

With all of the teammates, friendships, and memories he has made, Dominic remembers one moment of a game quite fondly. It was his team’s first season, and they were facing their biggest rival in the playoffs, heading into overtime.

“One of our players was in the breakaway on his first shift and missed,” Dominic said. “About forty seconds later we got another one and we all knew that it was going in, so we had a massive crowd over by the boards and kind of tackled him. We won our division that same season. I remember scoring my first goal up and the high school level, which was very different from my previous seasons.”

No matter if he is with his family or his teammates on the ice, no matter if his injuries permitted him to play or not, Dominic has grown to cherish the sport of hockey. What he loves most about it is how the team grows from individual players to one whole family.

“I [like] how the team comes together from the start where not everyone is going to be working together and not thinking the same way,” Dominic said. “But at the end of the season, you’re pretty much all family.”