Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This also appeared in today's Brockport Stylus...

Gershon keeps it all in the family
By Amanda Seef

An obstacle lay in front of the net on the ice, as the defenseman skated toward it, ready to put the puck in the back of the net. The goalie had blocked the defenseman's shots all night, much to the crowd's distaste. On the ice, it was the Brockport Golden Eagles versus Geneseo Knights. Off the ice, it was Mike Gershon versus Cory Gershon, brother pitted against brother.

The Gershons have met on the ice twice this season, with Mike scoring on younger brother and goalie, Cory, both times.

"It was pretty surreal," Mike, a senior at Brockport, said. His family came to support both Gershons at their latest game, Jan. 30. Mike's shot was the game-winning goal, where Brockport defeated Geneseo 5-2.

"I looked into the crowd, and my mom was smiling and crying at the same time," Mike said. "They are very supportive of myself and my brother."

The Gershon's mother was excited for the game, citing Cory's welcome attitude toward playing against Mike.

"We're always supportive of Mike and Cory," Mother Liz said. "We're very fortunate to have them as sons, they're wonderful young men. The college hockey experience has been amazing."

The family allegiance comes from Mike's high school days. Instead of the typical public high school experience, Mike attended Salisbury Prep School in Connecticut, where his brother joined him four years later. He lived away from home since he was 14, though his family visited each weekend.

"We're very close because I went away, so we didn't have the typical come-home-after-high-school' routine," Mike said. "We saw each other twice a week; they would drive up each weekend."

After high school, Mike left to play junior hockey in Toronto, playing for the St. Michael's Buzzers for the 2004-05 season. Brother Cory joined the same team for 2006-07 after Mike left for Brockport.

Mike made it to Brockport in the fall of 2005, majoring in broadcast communications and sports management. Though he liked the campus, there was a bigger reason for attending.

"I thought we were a team that had a lot of potential, and thought progress would be going on an up," he said. "It's nice to see it's happening now and I'm a part of it."

The brothers have faced-off against each other twice, the first time being at Geneseo in November. Mike was voted first star for that game for his stellar work, scoring on his brother once.

"With Mike, it's nice because he understands the game of hockey so well," assistant coach Mark Digby said. Digby says Mike is an offensively-motivated defenseman. "He's very fun to watch because he's always in the action."

The most recent game was held at Brockport in January, where Mike, once again, scored on his brother. He was voted first star for this game, yet again.

"I took the maximum shots, knowing it was my brother in the goal," Mike said. "I like having that [scoring on him] over him forever. He's the goalie, he's supposed to stop the puck."

Despite the rewarding feeling of scoring on his brother, the best part came from the fans at the game, where the record-breaking crowd of more than 1,700 chanted, "Mike is better."

The fans have been behind Brockport hockey this year, and the support does not go unnoticed. "Fans really started to come around and really helped out this year," Mike said. "The fans are great."

Though the season, and Mike's four-year college career, are both dwindling down, his mother remembers Mike's time at Brockport fondly. "Mike had a great experience at Brockport," she said. "I know he's very excited with how well the team has been."

Mrs. Gershon recalls Mike's sophomore year when the team was traveling through their New Jersey town, the entire team stopped to have dinner at the Gershon home. She says this was one of her favorite times with hockey and supports the entire team as much as she supports her son."He's had a great four years and as a family, so have we," she said.

The team will lose six seniors, but Mike is the only four-year defenseman the team has had.

"It's nice to have a guy back there with the leadership he has," Digby said. "He was a good learning tool for other defensemen, teaching them the ways of our level. It was nice to have a player of his ability and mentality."

Mike's teammates agree with the statement. "Mike is the kind of guy you can always feel confident in when he is on the ice," goalie Todd Sheridan said. "As a goalie, you need confidence in your defensemen."

Although regular season play is nearing completion, Mike hopes to continue playing hockey after graduation. He's been playing since he was 5 years old, and hopes his passion continues in his future.

"All hockey players just want to play more hockey," he said. "You don't grow up wanting to be a pro hockey player. If there is any shot of you being able to play pro, it would be worth all the work."

As of now, Mike has no definite plans, but is considering professional teams in Europe."There's opportunities out there," he said. "It's all about timing and who you know, as it is with any other job."

If he can't play, he hopes to coach or work on scouting for teams. Ultimately, he would like to be a General Manager for a team.

"You set goals in hockey like you set goals in life," he said. "So far, most of my dreams have come true."