A professional's Little Known Secret: He schedules shoots around his games. Priorities, check.
Where are you from?
Staten Island, New York.
Where do you live now?
Still living in Staten Island.
When did you start playing roller?
I started playing roller probably when I was around 10 years old.
Who got you into it?
My family moved to a new neighborhood when I was about 10 and the neighborhood kids would always play in the street. I decided it was time to get a pair of skates and get involved and I’ve loved it ever since.
Do you play ice or street hockey, now or growing up?
Growing up we played street hockey every single day. I actually wish we still did. I recently bought my first pair of ice skates so I can finally attempt ice hockey.
What other organized sports have you played?
In school growing up I played basketball and football.
Is roller the only sport you’ve continued with? If so, why?
I played a few years in men’s touch-tackle football leagues, but roller hockey is definitely the only thing I’ve never stopped.
Where do you play roller hockey?
I play in a men’s league at Tab Ramos in Aberdeen, New Jersey. Twice a month, some friends and I get together for our own midnight open hockey which is always fun.
Do you follow a pro team? If so, how devoted are you? (Watch on TV, go to games, season tickets, etc.)
I’m a rabid NY Rangers fan. A close friend of mine has season tickets and I attend as many games as I’m available for. We went to tons of games this past season through the playoffs including the ECF clincher against the Canadiens and the win we had in the Finals. We were also planning canceling my bachelor party in favor of going to LA for the away Finals games.
Do you have a favorite player, currently and / or from the past?
I grew up idolizing Brian Leetch and Mike Richter. Of course as a goalie I’m a huge Richter and Lundqvist fan.
Whose jersey have you owned?
I have a stack in my closet ranging from Leetch, Messier and Richter to Lundqvist, Girardi and Zuccarello.
Goalies have a reputation for being “different.” Are roller hockey goalies different?
I definitely think it takes a “different” type of person to agree to having pucks fired at them. We all have our own little pre-game things that need to happen in order to feel comfortable out there. Personally I need to hear a few certain songs before I get to the rink and I keep completely to myself through warmups.
I need to hear “Enemy” by Disturbed and “My Own Summer” by the Deftones before a game.
How often do you play?
I have league games once a week and get to open hockey about three times a month.
How many locations do you play at?
I play at two, Tab Ramos in New Jersey and Manor Road in Staten Island.
Do you practice as well?
I wish I had time to put the pads on and go practice more. I do get out and skate as much as I can.
How long is the season?
Our season is 13 games long including the playoffs.
Do you play year-round?
Yes. I go from season to season all year.
How many teams do you play for? Being a goalie, are you always getting calls from people to play?
I play for the same team year round. I definitely get random calls because no one can ever seem to find a goalie. This past week I played three back to back games because no one had their goalies show up.
How is the league organized? (How many teams, divided by skill, age, etc.)
I play in a 30 and over men’s league. They divide the league by skill into Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.
What level is your team?
My team plays in the Silver division.
Are there tournaments?
The rink does hold tournaments, but I haven’t played in one yet.
Is there a trophy?
No, there’s no trophy, but the winning team gets $200 toward their next season.
Do teams have sponsors?
None that I know of. Everyone seems to pay for themselves.
How crazy do games get? Does it ever carry over to the locker room or parking lot?
Games can get a little out of hand, but that’s just about all hockey. I’m adamant about protecting my crease, I’m constantly pushing guys trying to screen me to the ground, most of them understand its part of the game, some take issue with it and I’m more than happy to deal with it, but we’ve never really had it continue on to the locker room or parking lot.
How is the league policed? One ref per game?
We have a ref and a linesman.
Have you ever been banned or thrown out of a game?
I’ve been thrown out of games when I was a skater years ago, I’m slightly more behaved as a goalie.
Are there crowds at the games?
A few girlfriends or wives once in a while during the season… people come out of the woodwork though during the playoffs.
Does your team or the league have a website?
The league does at TabRamosSportsCenter.com
Can you describe your teammates? What are some of their occupations? Did you know these guys growing up?
My teammates are a great group of guys. They range from cops to finance guys. One of them is a good friend of mine. He actually called me to fill in for their goalie a few years ago and I’ve been playing with them ever since.
Do some of your teammates play ice as well?
We have a few guys that play ice also. Most of the guys get their only hockey from our league though.
Where do you buy your equipment?
I could spend days looking around MonkeySports in NewJersey. I love being in hockey stores.
What do you do for a living?
I’m a commercial and editorial automotive photographer.
How did you get started doing it?
Actually by accident. I was working at a custom shop building cars and was taking photos of our projects for our website. I was posting some of the photos on a car photography forum for advice etc., and I got a private message from the Photo Director of RIDES magazine who noticed I was local to the mag. He asked me to come in and assist and after about a month I was brought on as the Assistant Photo Director and eventually took over as Photo Director. That’s about eight years ago now.
What’s been the high point, as a professional?
Just recently I was hired to shoot the first Lamborghini Huracan in the country for Lamborghini North America. It was an honor to be one of the first to shoot with it.
The publishing company I work for used to make two great magazines,0-60 and Antenna. Both were eventually folded and a lot of people I’d gotten close to were fired. It was extremely difficult to watch close friends leave on their last days and it’s a really weird feeling to continue on without them.
Have you ever turned down work for a game or turned down a game for work?
I spend a lot of time on the road for work. As often as I can I try to schedule my trips around my game schedule. We play mostly on Friday nights so I’ll usually fly out Saturdays and return before the following Friday to avoid missing hockey. As a goalie I feel really bad about missing games because it’s harder for the team to replace a goalie than a skater.
While you are playing, do ever worry about getting injured and having that effect your work (breaking a hand, etc.)?
I worry a lot about getting hurt, especially since in the heat of the game some guys seem to forget we’re not playing game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. I’ve gotten into plenty of shoving matches with guys who have to take that last hack at my hands when the puck is already frozen. I wish the refs favored goalies a tiny bit more, give us the benefit of the doubt on covered pucks to avoid a lot of that.
Can you think of anyone on your team who will give you crap for being in snipetownnyc, having your picture taken, etc.?
The guys were actually really supportive of it. My buddy Mike was actually hoping the photographer also got a shot of him playing!
What’s your website / instagram?
AndrewLinkPhotography.com and @AndrewLink. •