Cardinal Call: Max O’Herlihy '17

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For this week’s Cardinal Call interview we sat down and talked with Max O’Herlihy, a 5th form U18 hockey player from Parsippany, NJ. We asked him about his recent experiences in the National Tournament held in San Jose as well as his day-to-day life at SKS. Here is the conversation we had:

What has been your best experience at SKS so far?

Just being here is the best experience. Meeting people from all over the world is an exciting, unforgettable thing. Thanks to SKS I now have friends in Korea, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Bermuda, and numerous other locations around the world. But despite the diversity of the campus, at the end of the day it’s still a small, tight knit community where we all come together at meals, chapel and sporting events. It’s a place that carries tradition and family values. To me the teachers and faculty members here are not just people, they’re more like friends and they take pride in everything they do.

What brought you to SKS?

My parents were born and raised in Ireland, but as I grew up in NJ I fell in love with hockey there. My parents always supported me playing more seriously. We initially heard of South Kent because of the outstanding hockey program and I was lucky enough to be recruited by the SASKS. When I came for my first visit, I not only fell in love with the facilities for hockey, but the whole beautiful campus. It was a no-brainer to choose the Hillside. 

Do you feel SKS has better prepared you for the future?

Without a doubt. South Kent changed me in ways I would have never imagined. Coming to the Hillside has been the best decision I ever made.

How has the Selects Academy at South Kent School Program been for you? 

I’ve been on the U18 hockey team for the past 2 years and the experiences and places it’s taken me are just mind blowing. I get to play in front of numerous USHL, OHL, NCAA, and even NHL coaches and scouts every game while being able to travel around the world. Every year I have been here we’ve had successful teams and have earned our way to the USA Hockey National Championship.

How was this year’s National Championship in San Jose?

My experience in the USA Hockey National Tournament was truly one I won’t forget. Being able to travel all the way to San Jose, California for a week, as a team, and playing in front of numerous junior, college, and NHL scouts was an experience in itself. Being 3,000 miles from school, with a 3 hour time change, and a sickness going around on the team, it took a bit out of myself and the boys but we fought the adversity and pushed forward. Although we did not win, the challenges and obstacles we overcame are something to be very proud of and I won’t soon forget the memories we all shared.

What has been the most difficult experience for you at SKS? How did you overcome it?

The most difficult experience for me at SKS would have to be moving away from home at such a young age. I left home at 16 and came to live at school. It was a very difficult decision due to the fact I would be leaving my family and friends behind. Plus, I was never one for being away from home in the first place. I enjoyed the fact I could have my own bed and my own room, not to mention time with my family. Coming here changed that all. It did not take long for me to adapt to these difficulties on the Hillside. I made friends and realized sharing a room with someone wasn't so bad, it was just like having a sleepover every night with my buddies.

Has there been anything about SKS that is surprising to you or anything you thought you wouldn't like but ended up enjoying?

Kent, CT has a population of less than 3,000 people, I was born and raised in a town made up of 50,000 people. So when I first got to SKS I literally was like “Why am I in the middle of nowhere?” Within a week I realized being out here in “the middle of nowhere” is actually quite peaceful and relaxing. It’s nice to be able to look out into the valley while walking to breakfast and at night to be able to look up and see thousands of stars.

We thank Max for talking to us, especially so soon after the long, draining journey of Nationals in San Jose. We wish him luck in his studies for the rest of the year and look forward to having him back on the Hillside as a sixth former next year!

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