Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo
If it has something to do with hockey in Central New York, the newest recipient of the Adirondack Bank 12th Man Award probably has something to do with it.
The original nomination we received at My Hometown Sports was an effort to draw our attention to the volunteer efforts of this 12th Man, as a coach and mentor with the Central New York Bobcats 12U Girls Hockey Team.
But, a little scraping of the ice reveals that Sheridan Mish has a much deeper commitment to the sport of hockey and the kids who play it, than many people could possibly realize. Unless, of course, you are fortunate enough spend a little time with him.
Dr. Mish, a Chiropractor, is also Coach Mish, a hockey guy , or is that the other way around? He’s from a hockey family, he’s raising a hockey family and his efforts as a coach, referee, player, teacher and administrator make him a priceless asset to the development of hockey players in Upstate New York.
Sheridan Mish, was born in Philadelphia, PA, where he began a lifelong dedication to the “Broad Street Bullies” Philadelphia Flyers, before moving to Upstate N.Y., with his Mom, Dad and three brothers.
Here in New York, Sheridan played youth hockey in New Hartford and Whitestown and was fortunate enough to be coached by his Dad, Andy, who was also a longtime hockey guy and sportswriter with the Utica Observer-Dispatch. Tragically, Sheridan lost his father, who died at the age of 40, when Sheridan was just 14 years of age.
Suddenly his mother, Millie, was left to raise three boys on her own. “She was a widowed, stay at home Mom, who reared three sons, as she sacrificed so much just to keep me playing hockey,” Sheridan said of his Mom, adding, “Being able to go on playing hockey from the age of 14 and up, allowed me to continue to learn about the game”.
Fortunately for Sheridan Mish, another strong role model, coach and friend emerged from the shadows after the tragedy of the loss of his Dad. “My high school coach, at the time, was Mike Jeffrey. I had to become the man of the house and Mike was there for me throughout the whole thing. Then, after high school he was my coach for two years at Mohawk Valley Community College. I can’t say enough about how that man helped me. I appreciate it so much,” Mish explained.
Another person who entered Sheridan Mish’s life at the age of 14 was his girlfriend, Irene. “She came to all of my hockey games. We were high school sweethearts, “ Mish said of Irene, who he married and has raised two daughters and a son with. “Without the loving support of my wife, Irene, absolutely none of this would be possible, she is simply the best. She is everything to me,” Sheridan told MHTS.
And speaking of the three children, Alison, Andrew II (after his Grandfather) and Autumn, may as have all been born with skates on. Alison, an alumnus of the CNY Bobcats program, is now a member of the Women’s Hockey Team at Buffalo State.
Andrew is a member of the Utica Jr. Comets Bantam Travel Team, of which his Dad is an Assistant Coach. Last, but my no means least, Autumn, is a member of the 12U CNY Bobcats Girls Hockey Team, which is also coached by her Dad.
So what does a winter week in the life of our latest 12th Man Award consist of? Well, last week it was one Bobcats practice, two Bobcats games, four Jr. Comet games, being the referee at two youth hockey games and playing in one adult league game (he decided to miss the other adult league game last week).
A year in the hockey life of the Mish family usually means around 60,000 miles on the family vehicles as well. “We go to Alison’s home games in Buffalo, we hit the road every weekend for Andrew and Autumn’s games, so we’re always on the road, non-stop,” Sheridan said.
Not only does Coach Mish coach, he is also the Vice President of the CNY Bobcats Girls Hockey Association. Christopher Militello, President of the Bobcats, praised Mish’s contributions to the organization, saying, “I’m glad to hear that someone recognized Sheridan’s commitment to the Bobcats and to area youth hockey.
He has been an integral force in helping us to establish an organization dedicated to providing area girls with the opportunity to play hockey. We are proud of coach Mish and everything he does to promote the growth of youth hockey in our area and throughout New York State.”
There just isn’t enough room in this article to outline and describe the numerous contributions of coaching and teaching Sheridan Mish has made to USA Hockey and NYSAHA. Suffice to say that Mish, a Master Certified Coach and Educator has trained hundreds of coaches across the Central Section of New York since 1995.
He is also the Team Chiropractor to the Utica College Mens and Womens Hockey Teams and has published a Thesis Paper for USA Hockey, entitled The Truth About Heads Up Hockey and The Secret to Achieving Maximum Safety, Health and Performance.
With a hockey resume as deep as Sheridan Mish’s, what makes our newest 12th Man volunteer so much of his valuable time to youth hockey? “That’s easy, hockey is life,” Mish said in response to that very question, adding, “The life lessons learned by kids who take the game up are immeasurable.
When you fall down learning to skate, you get back up. You might need a little help at first, but soon you’re skating on your own and after that you’re helping others. At my core, I know I am here to help people reach the greatest potential that they can.”
In an age where technology seems to be overtaking active participation sports, like hockey, for the attention of young people, those kids that choose to play hockey are definitely taking on a challenge. It’s not just learning to skate on razor thin blades, it’s learning how to stick handle, shoot, pass, check and of course, know all the rules!
Couple all of those skills necessary to play the game, with all of the time, money and energy needed by the player’s family and you’ve got yourself a lifestyle.
It’s the dedication of these kids and their families to the game of hockey that makes Coach Mish smile. “I get a tremendous feeling of success when we see the kids come back year after year. That lets us know that we’re doing something right and makes us want to just keep on going,” he said.
The CNY Bobcats started out as a single 10u girls team in 2009 and has since grown into an organization that includes teams at 8u, 10u, 12u and 14u. Last season, the Bobcats hosted the New York State Tier II Girls Championships at the Clinton Arena.
Coach Mish was quick to pass credit for the Bobcats growth and prosperity to its many players and volunteers, not the least of which are Sara Carr and Chris Militello. “Sara and Chris have done a wonderful job with the Bobcats, allowing guys like me to just jump on board and help out,” Mish explained.
So, if you happen to see Sheridan Mish driving to the rink, refereeing a game, coaching, running a practice or sitting at a Board meeting, feel free to tell him “Thank You”, for all that he has done and all he continues to do for the young hockey players in this area.
It is with great pleasure that we congratulate you, Sheridan Mish, on being selected as The Adirondack Bank 12th Man. It is your lifelong course of giving back to the young people of Central New York that generates significant admiration and gratitude of and for your efforts. The sport of hockey in our region is better because of you. Please keep up the great work!