People of the Year

2023 Sports people of the Year: Caryn and Troy Albert 

The Riverhead News-Review’s 2023 Sports People of the Year weren’t playing the sport themselves, but rather were making it possible for many others to play a sport they might otherwise not be able to play on the North Fork.

Caryn and Troy Albert of Wading River have been chosen for the work they’ve done in establishing the Peconic Hockey Foundation and for bringing an NHL regulation-sized ice hockey rink to Calverton.

In doing so, they’ve enlisted help from many local residents, as well as from the New York Islanders, Riverhead Town and Riverhead Building Supply in getting the rink up and running.

The Peconic Hockey Foundation aims to grow the game through scholarships, training and other programs. In late November, the ice rink was officially opened with a ceremony attended by more than 100 guests.

“We started this foundation back in 2015,” Mr. Albert said at the rink’s groundbreaking back in April. “In the winter months, there’s no skiing, there’s not much sledding, and it’s tough to keep ice frozen.”

Mr. Albert said that when his son began playing hockey in 2015, no ice rink was available for kids on the North Fork, so he and his wife came up with a plan to build one.

Eight years later, that rink opened for business in November. The crowded ceremony featured local political leaders, and former Islanders, including Ed Westfall, for whom the new ice rink was named.

The co-owner of the Islanders was there, too. 

“Caryn and Troy worked for years to raise the funding and the Islanders Children’s Foundation was a major contributor,” Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said in an interview with the News-Review. “We’re so thrilled that our ticketholders and our sponsors have given us this incredible recreational outlet. Physical education is an important building block for our children.”

Previously, officials said, there were only three indoor hockey rinks in all of Suffolk County. The Calverton rink is the fourth.

Hockey players and their parents from both forks will no longer have to travel all the way to rinks in Hauppauge, Dix Hills or Kings Park to play and practice.

The foundation donated the rink to Riverhead, which in turn granted the operating and management rights back to Peconic Hockey.

“They have gifted the Town of Riverhead a $2.5 million ice rink and dome,” said Riverhead Town Councilman Ken Rothwell. “They were able to manage and pull together countless volunteers — from businesses to parents of children who play hockey — and bring everyone together and participate.

“People volunteered time for painting and cleaning and moving soil and helping out in all different capacities. It was a vision by many, but it was started by Troy and Caryn Albert.” 

Previous Winners

2022: Bob Finan
2021: The Riverhead Athlete
2020: No winner chosen due to COVID-19 pandemic
2019: Ethan Greenidge
2018: Pat Kelly
2017: Bill Hedges
2016: Paul Koretzki and Bob Szymanski
2015: James Suarez