Club & Greek

Veteran Goalie Suits Up Against West Chester University in Conference Bout

A figure cloaked in Monmouth blue climbs the flight of stairs leading to the second floor of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center, smiles, and outstretches his long arms in greeting. He wears grey low top Nikes, a navy blue Bauer jumpsuit, and a backwards Under Armour cap that reads, “Hockey.”

“Live it. Eat it. Breathe it. That’s all I can say. Hockey is life,” said Steven Bonora, the 23-year-old corporate public communication graduate student who has been the starting goalie for Monmouth University Ice Hockey for the past three seasons.

Bonora and the Hawks are coming off a bye week and are preparing to take on the West Chester University Golden Rams on Friday, Nov. 6 at 8:45 p.m. The team hopes to add another W to their 8-2-1 record as they host the Golden Rams at the Jersey Shore Arena, located in Wall Township. Currently, the squad is ranked third in the Colonial States Conference, trailing behind TCNJ and Princeton respectively.

West Chester won the league last season. Monmouth, who is the newcomer to the Colonial States Conference, hopes to win the matchup so West Chester is hindered in their quest to win it all back-to-back years. Having Bonora in goal is a good start.

“It’s going to be a very important game,” Bonora said. “That’s two big points in the standings right there.” If good play results in a win on Friday, the Hawks would further push West Chester down in the ranks as they pursue the two other New Jersey schools in the conference.

“Steve gave us confidence early in the season leading us to a big win in our opener over St. Joe’s,” said Coach Amato when asked about Bonora’s impactful play this year. “He’ll need to continue to be an impact player for us if the team is to continue our recent success.”

“We [Monmouth University Ice Hockey] switched into this conference to play teams with a similar competitive and talent level,” Bonora said. “Winning a championship is the only goal.” The team is hungrier for a championship now more than ever.

Bonora is no stranger to the area as he hails from West Long Branch, New Jersey. Prior to becoming a student at Monmouth, Bonora played puck at Morris County College. “That was the first time in my hockey career that I ever sat the bench,” Bonora said. Knowing a change was needed, he sought attendance to Monmouth University.

Two of his best friends, Devon and Talon Ribsam, from West Long Branch were Bonora’s silver lining as they were the guiding wind that helped the future Hawk goaltender land at his home nest of Monmouth University.

“Steve has been a solid teammate for as long as I’ve played with him,” said Ribsam. “For six years straight he has proven his dedication to the sport and ultimately his love for the game.”

Bonora first laced up skates when he was 4-years-old when he attended public ice skating session with his father. The first time he ever played hockey happened at age 8 when he played as a forward and attempted to accumulate points on offense. Finally, Bonora found himself snatching pucks in front of the net at age 9. The rest was history.

Naturally, Bonora loves professional hockey as he, and the rest of his family, are true, diehard New York Ranger fans. Henrik Lundqvist, the starting goalie for the Rangers, is one of Bornoa’s role models. “I’ve molded much of my game around him,” Bonora said. “When I’m watching a game, I’m moreso looking at him than the play going on. I look at his stance, where his eyes are moving, his glove position, just all the little things that make a huge difference.” Bonora’s attention to detail has helped the team achieve much of its successes.

“The team gels so well,” Bonora said. Everyone is friendly with each other as we all hang out. It’s like a big fraternity, only for a hockey team. Being able to throw on that blue and white jersey every game and represent the letters ‘MU’ means the world to me and I am forever grateful for this opportunity.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Steve Bonora