Kevin Joyce is about to witness the other side of one of the most intense rivalries in Division III men’s ice hockey as part of his new position as head athletic trainer for Oswego State University.
Joyce — a native of Amityville and former men’s soccer player and track and field standout at Division I Sacred Heart University — was hired to oversee the athletic training staff for all of the Lakers’ 24 NCAA varsity sports programs, and started his full-time duties on Aug. 16.
Joyce brings nearly two decades of experience in sports medicine to the Lakers programs, including a five-year stint as assistant athletic trainer at Plattsburgh State, which represents the Oswego men’s hockey team’s chief rival and perennial top competitor for SUNYAC supremacy.
“Oswego was always a school that we would travel to and I enjoyed the area and I enjoyed the facilities they had here,” Joyce said.
“When (Plattsburgh) comes down, you see people and you talk to them,” he added. “I still have the friendships with them but obviously at the end, now you hope the green and gold ends up with a bigger number on the scoreboard than the red and white.”
Joyce was inspired to enter the field of athletic training after suffering a knee injury on the first day of soccer practice during his stint at Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Conn.
Joyce was studying physical therapy at the time but said that after working with the trainers to recover from his setback, sports medicine became his desired field.
“I went through the athletic training and spent a lot of time in that room and seeing what they do there, I decided I would much rather do this, work with athletes and be in and out of the locker room, and be in that atmosphere of athletics even after the sun had set on my athletic career,” Joyce said.
Joyce started his career as an intern at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, and then went to Elmira where he finished graduate school and worked as assistant athletic trainer from 2001-2003.
Joyce then worked in an assistant role with the Plattsburgh athletic training staff for five years before accepting the position as head athletic trainer at SUNY New Paltz, where he worked from 2007-2010. Joyce served as strength and conditioning coach and assistant athletic trainer at Division II Post University until 2016, then moved back near his hometown on Long Island to work on medical devices before taking a job with Professional Physical Therapy in Merrick.
While working for PPT, Joyce also held the head athletic trainer post for Carle Place High School.
Joyce said that the Oswego position had long been on his radar. He recently moved to the area with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children, Mackenzie and Caitlyn.
“I’m excited to get my feet moving and get going here, and see what the community has to offer,” Joyce said. “I know that there is a huge support base built in from the local community, and that excites me.”
He added: “We’re in full gear with the fall preseasons going and some of the men’s hockey players are still kicking around after their international trip, and everybody has kind of welcomed me with open arms, so it’s a good start so far.”