On July 9th, 1960, I was born in Buffalo, NY, and lived in a tough section of town. When I was only eight years old, things got tougher when my parents divorced. My mother, sister, two brothers and I lived in a small apartment and things were very difficult. Mom worked two jobs, which left my older sister Jodi to take care of us. Believe me, we were a handful!

Looking back, I can see that those difficult times forged a toughness in me that drove me to seek out athletic competition. Fortunately, I vented that toughness into a positive force, which eventually helped me succeed in life.

My first taste of competitive sports came when I was 12 years old. I signed up to play youth hockey. Since I could hardly skate, I played goalie. In my first year, I played in 20 games and had 13 shutouts. I was named the leagues Most Valuable Player and this fueled my desire to accomplish more.

Determined to learn how to skate, that summer I went to every available indoor rink and became the best and fastest skater in the area. The next year I played the center position and left behind the idea of being a goalie. I decided not to wait for the action to come to me. Instead, I wanted to create the action.

In l973, I experienced the joy of the remarriage of my beloved Father to his wonderful wife, Judy, whose children, Andrea and Michael, were immediately accepted by my family. Now, there were six children growing up together.

That year we (Mom, Jodi, Joel, Guy and I) moved from Buffalo, NY, to Liverpool, NY, a suburb outside of Syracuse. I continued my passion for hockey and joined the Mid State Youth Hockey League. I led the team in scoring.

For the first time, I started weight training. My sister Jodi bought me my first weight set and bench press. I was hooked! I was a typical kid that read the muscle magazines and fantasized about looking like Arnold.

The next year, as a freshman, I tried out for my High School Varsity Hockey Team. I made the team but was not a starter. After consistent practice, summer arrived I and played in the summer hockey league.

The following year, as a sophomore, I led the team in scoring and began to appreciate what hard work and determination will accomplish. By 15 years of age, I was chosen to attend the training camp of the Syracuse Stars Junior Hockey Team that had an age limit of 20 years old.  I made the starting team.

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