Steven Santini developed a passion for hockey at a young age.
The 22-year-old defenseman for the New Jersey Devils grew up at the family-owned Brewster Ice Arena in Putnam County and inherited his passion for hockey from his grandfather, father and father’s brothers.
“Growing up, I was around hockey,’’ Santini, son of Steve and Sandy Santini of Mahopac, told CNY. “My grandpa still plays and my dad got me playing. It’s where I developed my passion. Being around (the arena), I had the resources to attain that goal and it was realistic (to play hockey). I was really lucky to have this opportunity at a young age.”
Bob Santini started playing and coaching hockey because his three sons, Steve, Dave and Rob, all played. Bob, who coached at Mount St. Michael Academy, was a founder of the Catholic High School Hockey League and was named the first commissioner when the league was incorporated into the Catholic High School Athletic Association in 1973-1974. Now 86, Bob still plays.
Steve and Rob played at Mount St. Michael, and Steve later played for the University of Maine. Dave played at Iona Prep and Iona College.
All three remained active in hockey as coaches and referees after their high school and collegiate careers. Steve and Rob, a social studies teacher at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers, coached at Kennedy Catholic, where Steven and his three sisters attended school.
In 1997, Steve and Bob Santini were among a group that opened the Brewster Ice Arena, now a 90,000-square-foot facility featuring two regulation-sized indoor ice rinks, an outdoor rink and a studio rink. A roof was added to the outdoor rink for the 2017-2018 season.
Brewster Ice Arena serves as the home for three travel hockey organizations and 13 high school teams. Dave manages the pro shop.
Steven Santini put on skates for the first time at age 2.
“He really didn’t have much of a choice to go to the rink because it was a family business,’’ Steve Santini said. “I was there seven days a week, and my older daughters and wife were working there. We spent a lot of time at the rink. He had ample opportunity for ice time.”