Last updated: March 09. 2013 11:31PM - 1133 Views
By - tvenesky@civitasmedia.com

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Planning a beach vacation this summer but can’t decide between New Jersey or Delaware? Try Rhode Island.

If John Hynes wasn’t a hockey coach, he’d make a great tourism director for his home state. Hynes grew up in Warwick - a city in the middle of Rhode Island known for its coastline and beaches. And as a native son, Hynes knows all the places a visitor to the area needs to see. There are lighthouses, beaches, marinas with monstrous sailboats and yachts, and plenty of seafood.

Hynes can tell you where to see it all, and it’s a big reason why he and his family return to the beaches of home every summer.

Sports are also an important part of Warwick. The city has produced three major league baseball players, a NHL goalie that paved the way for Martin Brodeur and another who was a medal-winning Olympian for the USA women’s ice hockey team. Now, Hynes can add his name to the list as a professional ice hockey coach.

This Friday the Penguins played in nearby Providence, making it a fitting time for Hynes to tell us about growing up in Warwick.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

head coach John Hynes

Hometown: Warwich, RI

Type: Coastal city

Population: 86,672 (2010 Census)

Distance from Wilkes-Barre: 292 miles

Considering Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country, the same can’t be said of Warwick, can it? “It’s pretty big. It’s the second-largest city in the state and there are four public high schools and two Catholic high schools. It’s right in the middle of the state near Providence and Narragansett.”

There’s quite a few famous sports figures from Warwick, including a few pro baseball and hockey players. “I knew Billy Almon (MLB player 1974-1988) because he’s from a big family in Rhode Island. Rocco Baldelli (MLB player from 2003-2010) was an up-and-coming player when I was in high school and college. Sara DaCosta (two-time Olympic medalist with the women’s ice hockey team) went to the same high school I did, three years after me. She was one of the first female goalies to play D-I high school hockey in Rhode Island. She’s definitely well-known. And Chris Terreri (goaltender with the New Jersey Devils, Sharks, Blackhawks and Islanders, 1987-2001), when we were growing up he was a name everyone knew.”

Is the 39-miles of coastline a major feature of Warwick? “Yes. We have a lot of beaches and marinas where the yachts come in. Lighthouses and plenty of seafood, too.”

What’s the best seafood place that only the locals know about? “Aunt Carrie’s is the place. Clamcakes and chowder. That’s one they’re known for and that’s where the locals go.”

I imagine Warwick has spectacular scenery along the coast? “It’s impressive. Just the whole area. You have Narragansett, Newport, Jamestown - it’s a beautiful area in the summer and there’s a lot of lighthouses - such as Point Judith and Newport. In Jamestown and Newport you have the tall ships that come in from all over the world. There’s just a lot to do and see in the summer and it’s all accessible. You can take one road and go to the beaches, the shops in the small towns and the seafood places.”

What did you do outside of hockey while growing up in Warwick? “My family was big into the beach. We had a beachhouse that we’d rent out through our family and everyone would go there all summer. We still do that to this day, every July.”

Is Warwick a place you’d like to move back to at some point? “There’s always a possibility because you have family and friends. Whether we have a chance to reside there or not, it’s somewhere we will always go back to visit. Especially in the summer. We enjoy it as a family to go back and have our daughters experience the beach, seafood and whole eastern seaboard. It’s definitely somewhere we’d visit every year.

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