The Long Road
BY TAYLOR O’BRIEN // MAY 7, 2013 //
This is the second in a series of profiles featuring graduating seniors.
The road to West Virginia is a whole lot of nothing. On a good day, the sun might peak its head over the Appalachian Mountains, illuminating a rotten piece of road kill that lost its fight with an 18-wheeler, or a deer scurrying into the woods that seem to stretch on for an eternity.
Ian Delong, a senior at Curry College, finds it difficult to pass the time. So, he lets his mind wonder as he passes each mile marker and highway sign, unsure of what might be up ahead, but knowing full damn well…it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
Delong’s journey to West Virginia was short-lived toward the end of this past semester, but it was certainly memorable. He drove from Milton, Mass., to the Mountain State to play hockey for the Wheeling Nailers, a professional minor league affiliate of both the NHL’s Montreal Canadians and Pittsburg Penguins. Delong signed a contract with the Nailers—he played in three games, accumulating no points—shortly after finishing a stunning senior season at Curry. He led the hockey team in scoring with 30 points on 14 goals and 16 assists. An assistant captain, Delong was named to the All-ECAC Northeast First Team.
Even though the Colonels season ended in disappointment with a 6-4 loss to Johnson & Wales University in the ECAC Northeast Quarterfinals, Delong said his love for the game would continue. That love was born many years ago, when Delong began playing rink hockey with his dad in their hometown of Kutztown, Penn. It was forged in a fire of motivation, when he was cut from a midget Triple A travel team and later promised himself that he would never be cut again.
“The game is all about speed and your handling skills, and those are the areas that I am the strongest in,” said Delong, who is listed at 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds. “Even if I’m not the biggest guy on the ice, I can make up for it.”
Delong, who will turn 25 in June, said he hopes to fine-tune his game for a dream opportunity to play in Europe or, maybe, just maybe, a shot at the NHL. For now, the communication major intends to continue his work with one of the most widely recognized sports and pop culture blogs around, BarstoolSports.com.
For the past couple of years, the majority of Delong’s free time has been spent working as Barstool’s social media expert and all-around utility guy. When he wasn’t studying for an exam or playing hockey, he was often figuring out the logistics of throwing a foam party or planning the next spring break bash. Delong is also constantly tweeting and blogging for infamous owner David “ El Pres” Portnoy, president of Barstool Sports who was Delong’s neighbor back in Pennsylvania. The company is now headquartered in Milton, Mass.
Delong said he relishes having the dream job of thousands of college students, one that allows him to travel to some of the best party scenes in the country while also hanging out with some well-known athletes and celebrities. This past year in Buffalo, Delong got to spend time with all three Gronkowski brothers. In March, he was traveling back and forth from Boston to Panama City Beach, Fla., to help coordinate the biggest spring break party in the nation. Delong said that some of his craziest moments working for Barstool involve him jumping into the frenzied crowd in a bear costume, because, as he says, “You never know how it is going to turn out.”
Delong will graduate this month with a bachelor’s degree in communication with a concentration in corporate comm. He said he credits his Curry education for preparing him for the “real world,” and is quick to point out the guidance he has received from Professor Sharon Sinnott, coordinator of the corporate communication concentration.
“Curry was a perfect place for Ian,” said Sinnott, who serves as the academic adviser to players on the hockey team, among other students. “The small classes allowed for him to grow academically because professors could identify his talents.
“He has mastered the art of time management by successfully managing his academics, a leadership role on the hockey team and a demanding part-time job where he travels up and down the East Coast,” she added. “Can an advisor be any prouder?”
As for the next chapter in Delong’s life, he said much remains unknown. Whether it’s related to hockey, digital media, event planning or something altogether different, Delong knows one thing is for sure: If the past is any indication of the future, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.