Hockey has issued quite an odyssey for Dana Trivigno since she was a preschooler living in Setauket. She played a Pee Wee tournament in Quebec, left home at 14 for prep school in Minnesota, went to college in Boston and traveled the world wearing the USA uniform. It even brought her back to Long Island.
Trivigno is a forward for the U.S. Women’s National Team, which opened Four Nations Cup play in Finland on Tuesday with a 6-0 victory over Sweden and beat Finland, 4-0, on Wednesday. The team beat Canada, 5-3, on Saturday to win its seventh Four Nations Cup title.
For Trivigno, the Four Nations Cup is a pivotal stop on the way toward her ultimate goal, playing in the 2018 Winter Olympics. If she does, she will be the first Long Islander to make it in women’s hockey.
“That would be awesome,” said Trivigno, who has played on multiple Team USA squads since 2011, starting with the under-18 team. “Something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little girl. To go to the Olympics and represent your country, I can’t even put it into words.”
So far, so good. The 22-year-old recent Boston College graduate — with cum laude honors after carrying a double major in finance and operations management — already has won two gold medals representing the U.S. at the Women’s World Championships and one at the World Women’s Under-18 World Championship. She also has made it to the pros, playing for the Connecticut Whale of the nascent National Women’s Hockey League. And it all started way back on Long Island.
“I went to preschool at The Rinx at Hidden Pond Park [in Hauppauge] and they teach you to skate there,” she said. “From that point on, it was figure skating or hockey. My dad is a huge Rangers fan — he plays in men’s leagues, just a big fan of the game — and he kind of got me into it. I put on my skates and I loved it, and ever since, I’ve been playing.”
Trivigno’s father, Bob, a retired New York City firefighter, said that when his daughter was in elementary and junior high school, she would go to The Rinx to practice skating at 5:30 a.m. before school. “It got to the point where she would come and wake me up, saying ‘Dad, it’s time to go,’ ” he said.
She quickly was good enough for the best competition, so she played on boys teams. Her father coached her with the Long Island Royals until she was 14. “I knew you could only play for the guys for so long because they get bigger, stronger, and you risk injury,” she said.
Another top female player, whom Dana Trivigno met at regional competitions, was on the girls’ squad at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minnesota, and said they were looking for a forward. The private school is known for youth hockey and its alumni include Sidney Crosby, Zach Parise and former Islander Kyle Okposo. “I went for a visit, they were interested in me and we worked it out,” she said. “There’s no better place.”
Then again, it could be said that the best place for a 14-year-old is at home. But Trivigno ultimately chose Minnesota. By then, hockey was in her blood and she wanted to give herself every possible opportunity. So Bob and Nancy Trivigno packed the car and brought their daughter halfway across the country.
“When they dropped me off, they stayed a few extra days just to make sure everything was OK. Then they pretty much called me every free chance they had, and I called them,” she said. “The first two weeks were very hard. Being on your own is very difficult at such a young age. But once hockey started, you form a new group of friends, a new family.”
Bob Trivigno remembers those first weeks. “She got homesick,” he said. “She was hyperventilating on the phone. I said, ‘Listen, give it a couple more weeks. If it’s not for you, I’ll come and get you.’ Sure enough, we went out for family weekend the first weekend in October and she was fine. And she never looked back.”
She was on her way. Trivigno developed as a playmaker and defensive specialist at Boston College (51 goals and 81 assists in 148 games), and in international play just about every year. “It’s really impressive to see how she has grown, how much she has matured, on and off the ice, and to see the determination she has shown just to be on this team,” said Reagan Carey, general manager of the national team. “She really took a lot of things to heart and worked very hard to make sure that she got in this as soon as she has.”
Trivigno has three points in 16 games with the women’s national team over the past three years. “If you’re a female athlete in any sport, except maybe basketball, that’s the pinnacle, to play at that level,” Bob Trevigno said. “I’ve been to Stockholm, Sweden, and watched her play with the under-18 national team and I’ve been to Prague, and it just brings a tear to your eye every time to see her out there with the USA jersey on.”
At the Islanders’ Northwell Health facility at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins recently got the rare chance to see her play in person during a spirited scrimmage in preparation for Four Nations Cup play.
At practice the next day, she showed speed and exuberance, gliding across the ice and scoring while using a goalie’s stick to cap a team-wide game of shinny, which is the hockey equivalent of a schoolyard basketball game.
Someday, Trivigno said, she will go to graduate school and probably get into investment banking. For now, though, she lives and trains in Boston, commutes with teammates to Whale practices and games, and wants to see where her sport will take her next.
“My focus is mainly on hockey,” she said, “putting everything into what I have. No regrets.”
F, No. 32
College: Boston College
International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships: 2015 (gold), 2016
Four Nations Cup: 2014 (second), 2016