Friday, June 18th, 2021
   Irish American Ice Hockey Classic: Boston:
Irish Dreams Do Come True!
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 Dreams Do Come True……Sean Coleman moves to Boston to chase his Hockey Dream!

Members of the Irish American Hockey Association first met Sean Coleman as a bright eyed 9 year old Irish kid just learning to skate as Ireland’s ONLY rink opened in Dundalk Ireland in 2006.

Picture this if you can; Ireland: 2006 and the very first ice hockey rink in your country opens up in your home town.

Pictured above: (John Cusack, executive Director of the Irish American Hockey Association, chats with young Irish Hockey Players (including Sean Coleman) in Dundalk, Ireland 2009).

Much like young kids who have older brothers do here in the States; Sean started hanging around the rink watching older kids play….. he didn’t watch long.

Just like any other 9 year old boy here in the States, Sean gets “the bug” and officially turned into Ireland’s version of a “rink rat”.

As his mother Rosemarie Coleman said at the time “When he asked me if he could play ice hockey, I said definitely not, no way are you going to play ice hockey; it’s far too dangerous”. She continued: “He was already playing Gaelic and Football and I thought, no way Sean, it’s not going to happen”.

If only his mother knew then what she’s learning about the game now and how hockey was going to change Sean’s life forever going forward.

Tony Kinsella and the good people at the newly opened Dundalk Ice Dome had gently used hockey gear that they would lend to the young lads to give it a go and it didn’t take long before Sean’s life was about to change for good.

He hit the rink and he hit it hard. Every chance he got, he’d be at the rink. He’d look up to older players like Adam Pepper, goalie for the Irish National Team and Ross O’Driscoll, Captain of Team Ireland in the IIHF.

He’d meet and skate with his good buds like Conor Redmond, David Sally, Jack McGaily, Calvin Doherty, Roman Culak, Mark Gaughran, Stefan McNulty and Marcus Kinsella at the Dundalk Ice Dome and be coached and mentored by great guys such as Sean Dooley, Pat Kelly, Vincent Sally, Kenny Redmond, Gerry Christiansen among others.

Things all changed, in 2008, through the Irish American Hockey Association’s outreach program, Sean made his first trip to the United States to attend one of PJ Stock’s summer camps.

Brian Keenan, then a High School Varsity coach in Boston conducting some Irish American Hockey Camps for visiting players from Ireland, as well as others, saw something in Sean at his young age. For a player who had only been skating for 2 short years, it was clear, the kid had some talent.

When the Dundalk Ice Dome closed due to the economic climate in Europe, Sean, as well as a number of other kids from the Dundalk / Dublin area, was faced with the heartbreaking reality: travel a good distant North to Belfast to get some skates in or hang em up until another rink (hopefully) opened in Ireland.

Sean, as well as other devoted young hockey players in Ireland, spent their week-ends traveling to Belfast, England, Scotland any other place in Europe to get games in and grow and develop as young hockey players.

They sacrificed week-end social events with other young teenagers and their parents made tremendous financial commitments for their kids (just like here in the States), now hooked on the game of ice hockey, to keep skating.

Todd Kelman of the Belfast Giants and Paul Robinson of the Belfast Junior Giants welcomed kids from the Dundalk area such as Sean with open arms up North in Belfast. They were gracious and opened their rinks and skill sessions up to the kids from Dundalk to keep their love of the game of hockey alive.

The Irish American Hockey Association sponsored the Boston Bruins Alumni and other NHL Alumni’s to head to Ireland and conduct skills clinics for the youth in Ireland as the love for the game of ice hockey continued to grow. Sean was the standout player that caught most of the Bruins players’ eye: “That Coleman kid can really move” marveled Bruins Legend Rick Middleton. “How long has that kid been skating, he’s good” remarked NHL Great Bobby Carpenter.

While the rink in Dundalk remained closed, Sean as well as other youth hockey players from Ireland, faithfully made their summer and Christmas holiday trips to Boston, courtesy of the Irish American Hockey Association, to get week and summer long training sessions in and stay with friends they made in the hockey community in Boston.

Sean would come over to Boston more than most and it was clear that hockey was going to be a big part of Sean’s future. He’d skate in the summer tournaments with the Boston Junior Whalers Hockey team and practice with the Valley Junior Warrior hockey program just north of Boston.

As Irelands only full size ice rink remains closed; Sean made the move of a lifetime in September; he packed up his hockey bag, with the support and blessing of his mother (who remained in Ireland), obtained his J1 visa and with assistance from many here in Boston, was Blessed to be accepted in a Prominent Catholic High School and begin his new life here in the States.

When Sean is done with his daily school commitment, he now is living his lifelong dream of playing hockey (and hitting the gym) on a daily basis. Yes, Sean is finally on the ice each and every day!

Through the sponsorship and support of many at the Irish American Hockey Association, Sean now wears number 76 and proudly skates for the Bay State Breakers of the USPHL in New England.

His coaches and teammates love him here in Boston and Sean recorded his first goal last week-end in only his 2nd game with the Breakers.

He’s quickly developing into a top 6 forward on the Breakers Team and the future is bright for a great kid from Dundalk.

John Cusack, PJ Stock, Tommy McGrath. Teddy Cunniff and Bob Sweeney, founding board members of the IAIHA, have watched Sean grow as a boy in Dundalk to a young man wearing a Shamrock Jersey for the Boston Breakers in the USPHL.

After settling in here in Boston the past few weeks, getting acclimated to a new High School educational system here in the States and adjusting to Junior Hockey in the USPHL, Sean makes his first road trip of this young season this week-end  to New York City to take on the Jr Islanders .

What a journey it’s been Sean; we, as your many supporters back in Ireland, are proud of you and wish you success and happiness, on and off the ice, in Boston over the next few years.

And yes Sean; sometimes dreams do come true!

Bealtaine an grásta ar Dhia bheith leat Sean; mian is fearr do shláinte agus sonas araon anseo i mBostún agus i nDún Dealgan.


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