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Kyle PalmieriMy Hometown is a new running series in Ducks Off the Ice, in which players take some time to talk about where they grew up.
Our latest subject is Kyle Palmieri:
Montvale, New Jersey
Location: Northeast New Jersey, close to the NY/NJ border
Population: Approximately 8,000
Area: 4.009 square miles
Current weather: 20° F and sunny with a low of 13° and a chance of snow tonight and this weekend
Palmieri on his hometown
I was born in Long Island, but I only lived there for a year or two. I moved to Montvale when I was really little. It was your typical suburban town, but I lived on a farm, so it was a little different from most people. It was my grandparents’ farm, and they’ve had it for 50, 60 years now. It gave me a lot of space to do what I want, and I lived right down the street from my grandparents. So, we always had plenty of family around, and the whole farm was run by family members. That was pretty cool.
The family farm
I have two older sisters and a younger brother, but I was the only person of my siblings not to work on the farm at some point. They worked in the store, which was kind of like a Trader Joe’s that has a little bit of everything. My two sisters worked there when they were old enough, until they went away to school, and a lot of my friends worked there too. They always hired kids looking to get work.
I was always so busy in the summers with hockey and everything else that it was tough for me to commit to anything, but I’d help out if they needed me. A lot of it was cash register, but I’d help stock shelves and stuff. I never worked in the fields or anything, but we lived amongst the fields, so if my mom needed something for dinner or anything, I could walk out and pick something out of the dirt.
Learning to play hockey there
My sisters were in gymnastics, and one of their teammates had a brother who played hockey. He was around my age, so 5 or 6 at the time, and they had a rink in their backyard. That’s where I tried on my first pair of ice skates. I slid around on the outdoor rink for awhile, and my dad saw how much I loved to play, so he wanted to build one at our house. My dad [Bruce] was never a hockey player, so we kind of both learned to skate at the same time. When I was probably 7 or 8 years old, he built me my first rink in one of the fields, because it gets too cold in the winter to farm. It was probably 100 feet from my house, so I could go out there and skate whenever I wanted.
My dad is a builder, so he picks up on that kind of stuff. He took it as a challenge to himself, something he had never done. He took care of it like you’ve never seen. He’d be out there in the middle of the night, filling the cracks and sweeping it. There were little boards about [ankle] high that went around the rink, and behind the net there were bigger boards. He put netting in and all that stuff. The boards lasted awhile until I started being able to shoot harder, and then we had to replace them every year. So, I started when I was around 8 and he’s been keeping it up for 14 years now and never missed a year. He takes it seriously.
Playing hockey growing up
It’s changed a lot in the years and gotten so much bigger there, but I had a rink within 10 minutes of my house that I played at up until I was 12 or 13. Then I started playing at a rink in West Orange, where the Devils used to practice.
Going back home
In the summers I live in Boston, but I go back home a lot. Most of the kids are starting to move out now, so it’s a pretty empty house. My brother is the only one at home. One sister lives in Georgia and the other one lives close to home. It’s only a couple of hours from Boston, so I like to get back there and hang out.
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