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COACH CHRIS GERWIG - "THE HOUR"

Gerwig hired by CT Oilers, returns to his Norwalk skating roots

By BOB BIRGE Hour Correspondent | Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015 4:24 pm

NORWALK — About two weeks after leading the Darien High boys hockey team to its first state championship since 1969, Chris Gerwig went to Blue Wave athletic director Chris Manfredonia with a bombshell announcement.

Gerwig told Manfredonia he was going to leave Darien to take a full-time job with the Connecticut Oilers as hockey director, which will include coaching two of the organization’s youth teams.

Gerwig said the news left Manfredonia “a little in shock”, and it’s not hard to understand why because of the success the Blue Wave enjoyed under Gerwig.

In four seasons at Darien, the 44-year-old Rowayton native logged a record of 81-17-1, which also included an FCIAC championship last year.

However, the chance to work at the SoNo Ice House with individuals he has known for years — Eric Lind, Marvin Minkler and Tomasz Piatek — was something he could not turn down.

His goal is to turn the Oilers into a “nice little hockey factory.”

“I thought it was a great opportunity to join forces and do something that I really love to do and that’s coach and teach hockey at all phases and all levels,” Gerwig said.

“To have four of the best guys around this area under one roof is something we want to provide Norwalk and all the great towns in Fairfield County. Gosh, we’ve got guys coming from Long Island and up in New Haven.”

Gerwig has known Lind, who coached the Oilers’ junior team to the Eastern Hockey League championship last season, since the latter was six years old.

Gerwig and Minkler played against each other during their FCIAC days with Gerwig at Stamford Catholic and Minkler at Westhill and they have been friends ever since.

Gerwig met Piatek, who played on the Polish national team and coached in his native country, a dozen years ago.

 

“It’s another resource for us,” said Minkler, who served as an assistant under Gerwig at Trinity Catholic and came aboard as the general manager of the SoNo Ice House in February after previously working as the hockey director at the Twins Rinks in Stamford.

“If you’re building a university and you have a school you want the best professors that you can and that’s our philosophy here with Eric, Tomasz, now Chris Gerwig and myself. It’s another tool for all these kids to use.”

Working for the Oilers at the SoNo Ice House is like returning home for Gerwig.

“This is where I wanted to be,” he said. “I grew up in Rowayton, my parents have been in the same house for 45 years. I grew up playing at the old Crystal Ice Rink in Norwalk so for me to be back in my home town, it’s kind of like something was meant to be for me.”

Gerwig gave up three longstanding jobs to take the Oilers’ position, having worked at Blueline Sports in Darien for 14 years in addition to coaching high school teams for 18 years and at the New Canaan Winter Club for 13.

While Gerwig’s official title is hockey director, he considers himself the assistant hockey director and said he will be working under Piatek, who has the same title. Essentially, they are co-hockey directors.

“It was a no-brainer for me when I got the call from Marvin to see if there was an interest in joining these guys here, so I kind of seized the moment,” Gerwig said.

The Oilers kept the hire quiet as Gerwig officially started on June 22, when the summer camp schedule at SoNo began.

Mac Budd, Gerwig’s former assistant, will take over the Darien varsity program.

Lind and Oilers’ president Ryan Hughes are out of town this week as they are working at a camp in Nantucket (last week, Gerwig worked the Riley Hockey Clinic in Nantucket which is named for John Riley, who coached the United States men’s hockey team to a gold medal in the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley).

“The hockey community that we have now has grown exponentially with our camps and clinics, the tournaments that we’re going to run and the youth hockey program that we’re starting to develop,” Minkler said.

“You need guys getting on the phone making phone calls, and I have all the confidence in the world in Tomasz, Eric and now Chris that those guys can take the ball and run with it.”

With the Oilers expanding to 12 clubs in all age groups in the fall, Minkler has 16 coaches in the fold.

He and Piatek each will coach three teams while Gerwig will guide the Bantam Minors (2002) and Pee Wee Majors (2003).

According to Gerwig, they will play a 45-65 game schedule in the American Youth Hockey League, which is more intensive than the CIAC’s 20-game regular-season slate.

“It’s going to be a lot, but it’s my job,” he said. “It’s my life now.”

Minkler tried to hire Gerwig, who trained future NHL players Kevin Shattenkirk and Cam Atkinson at the Westchester Skating Academy when they were in youth hockey, at Twins Rinks.

“I don’t think they saw that value,” Minkler said, “but me being here as the general manager, I understand the value of good coaching, surrounding yourself with good people, and that’s our draw here.”


by posted 07/23/2015
Weekly Skate

Stay Cool at SoNo!

Thursday Weekly Skate Reminder

Today's Weekly Skate July 30th!!!

 

4:30-5:30pm - Little Oilers (7 & Under - $30) with Marvin

​4:30-6:30pm - 03's & 04's with Tomasz

5:30-7:30pm - 01's & 02's with Marvin

6:30-8:30pm - U16's with Chris Gerwig

 

We Welcome Walk-ups!!

Skills & Small Games!

203.956.0255 

 


by posted 07/20/2015

It All Starts Tonight!

U16's - The Sunday Night League

6:00pm & 7:30pm

There are a few roster spots left - players not registered are encouraged to walk-in register for either the 6:00pm game or the 7:30pm game!

 

Registration at the door

 

Skate, Sweat, Compete!

203.956.0255

Marvin@SoNoIceHouse.com


by posted 07/19/2015
Weekly Skates By Age Group

Weekly Skates Start Next Week

Summer Time Weekly Skates Begin!

Week of July 6th - August 13th

Text Box: Mondays  July 6-August 10
4:30-6:30pm  2008s w/ Marvin Minkler
4:30-6:30pm  2007s w/ Tomasz Piatek
6:30-8:30pm  2005s w/ Marvin Minkler
6:30-8:30pm  2004s w/ Tomasz Piatek

Mondays – July 6-August 10

4:30-6:30pm – 2008’s w/ Marvin Minkler

4:30-6:30pm – 2007’s w/ Tomasz Piatek

6:30-8:30pm – 2005’s w/ Marvin Minkler

6:30-8:30pm – 2004’s w/ Tomasz Piatek 

 

Tuesdays – July 7-August 11

4:30-6:30pm – 2002’s w/ Chris Gerwig

4:30-6:30pm – 2006’s w/ Tomasz Piatek

6:30-8:30pm – 2001’s w/ Marvin Minkler

6:30-8:30pm – U16’s w/ Eric Lind 

Wednesdays – July 8-August 12

4:30-6:30pm – 05 & 06 w/ Marvin Minkler

4:30-6:30pm – 07 & 08 w/ Tomasz Piatek

6:30-8:30pm –PrepSkate w/Marvin Minkler

6:30-8:30pm – 2003’s w/ Chris Gerwig 

 

Thursdays – July 9-August 13

4:30-5:30pm –Little Oilers* w/ Marvin Minkler

4:30-6:30pm – 03 & 04’s w/ Tomasz Piatek

5:30-7:30pm – 01 & 02  w/ Marvin Minkler

6:30-8:30pm – U16’s w/ Eric Lind 

Summer Time Weekly Skates

July – August  Weekly Skills Sessions for the Serious Player –

A balanced mix of up tempo skill drills and small area games

Text Box: Thursdays  July 9-August 13
4:30-5:30pm Little Oilers* w/ Marvin Minkler 
4:30-6:30pm  03 & 04s w/ Tomasz Piatek
5:30-7:30pm  01 & 02  w/ Marvin Minkler
6:30-8:30pm  U16s w/ Eric Lind 
Text Box: Wednesdays  July 8-August 12
4:30-6:30pm  05 & 06 w/ Marvin Minkler
4:30-6:30pm  07 & 08 w/ Tomasz Piatek
6:30-8:30pm PrepSkate w/Marvin Minkler
6:30-8:30pm  2003s w/ Chris Gerwig 
Text Box: Tuesdays  July 7-August 11
4:30-6:30pm  2002s w/ Chris Gerwig
4:30-6:30pm  2006s w/ Tomasz Piatek
6:30-8:30pm  2001s w/ Marvin Minkler
6:30-8:30pm  U16s w/ Eric Lind 
Text Box: Mondays  July 6-August 10
4:30-6:30pm  2008s w/ Marvin Minkler
4:30-6:30pm  2007s w/ Tomasz Piatek
6:30-8:30pm  2005s w/ Marvin Minkler
6:30-8:30pm  2004s w/ Tomasz Piatek 
 Weekly Skates - 6 Weeks $350, or Sign-up for 2 Skates just $595

Weekly Skate Walk-Ups Welcome $60 per session *Little Oilers Walk-Up $30 per Session 

 

For Weekly Camp Registration Please Click Here!!


by posted 06/30/2015
TOMASZ PIATEK SUNDAY FUNDAY SUMMER 2015

"SUNDAY FUNDAY" with TOMASZ PIATEK at the SoNo Ice House

7 Summer Sundays ~ $350:

July 12, 19, 26 and August 2, 9, 16, 23

10 and Under: 3:00-4:30pm

11 and Older: 4:30-6:00pm

Skating, Shooting, Stickhandling​ 

for hard working players

 

click here to download a form

 

Walk ups always welcome! ($65 per session)

Please call us or email us with any questions

Marvin@SoNoIceHouse.com or Tomasz@SoNoIceHouse.com

203.956.0255 ext 6 or 9

www.SoNoHockeyCamps.com

 

 


by posted 05/12/2015
Summer Weekly Skates - ALL ages listed

Summer Time Weekly Skates

July – August  Weekly Skills Sessions for the Serious Player –

A balanced mix of up tempo skill drills and small area games

DOWNLOAD FORM HERE

Text Box: Mondays – July 6-August 10
4:30-6:30pm – 2008’s w/ Marvin Minkler
4:30-6:30pm – 2007’s w/ Tomasz Piatek
6:30-8:30pm – 2005’s w/ Marvin Minkler
6:30-8:30pm – 2004’s w/ Tomasz Piatek 
Text Box: Tuesdays – July 7-August 11
4:30-6:30pm – 2002’s w/ Chris Gerwig
4:30-6:30pm – 2006’s w/ Tomasz Piatek
6:30-8:30pm – 2001’s w/ Marvin Minkler
6:30-8:30pm – U16’s w/ Eric Lind

 


 







 

Text Box: Wednesdays – July 8-August 12
4:30-6:30pm – 05 & 06 w/ Marvin Minkler
4:30-6:30pm – 07 & 08 w/ Tomasz Piatek
6:30-8:30pm –PrepSkate w/Marvin Minkler
6:30-8:30pm – 2003’s w/ Chris Gerwig 
Text Box: Thursdays – July 9-August 13
4:30-5:30pm –Little Oilers* w/ Marvin Minkler 
4:30-6:30pm – 03 & 04’s w/ Tomasz Piatek
5:30-7:30pm – 01 & 02  w/ Marvin Minkler
6:30-8:30pm – U16’s w/ Eric Lind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Weekly Skates - 6 Weeks $350, or Sign-up for 2 Skates just $595

 

Weekly Skate Walk-Ups Welcome $60 per session *Little Oilers Walk-Up $30 per Session

Questions? Please call 203.965.0255 x6 or 9

Or email us @

www.SoNoHockeyCamps.com

 

 


by posted 05/07/2015
Check & Mate

2004 Oil Kings - Champions

Congratulations to the 04 CT Oil Kings for winning the AYHL 2014-15 Championship!!

 

The entire 04 team battled all weekend long and were outstanding beating the #1 Seeded NJ Rockets 3-2

Daniel Hu, was the hero of the game winning power play goal with 1:12 in the 3rd period

 

***

On behalf of Tomasz Piatek and myself  we would like to thank all the coaches, families and players of the CT Oil Kings organization for a fantastic 2014-15 season - everyone was great and we look forward to an even bigger and better 2015-16 season.


by posted 03/01/2015
Oil Kings Find A Home

 

The CT Oil Kings are pleased to announce that Marvin Minkler is the new General Manager of the SoNo Ice House with Tomasz Piatek  as the Hockey Director.

 

The CT Oil Kings will now become the Official SPRING Ice Hockey Program of the SoNo Ice House. The CT Oil Kings Spring program will run from the end of March - mid-June.

The spring Oil Kings program features: 2 -90 Minute on ice practices a week; weekly off-ice training programs and workouts & 3 AAA  tournaments 

Coaches:

U16's - Chris Gerwig

2001's Marvin Minkler

2002's Tomasz Piatek

2003's Chris Gragnano

2004's Tomasz Piatek

2005's Marvin Minkler

2006's Tomasz Piatek

2007's Chris Gragnano

2008's Marvin Minkler

2009's, 10's 11's - SoNo Young Oilers ~ Marvin, Tomasz & Chris

 

Spring Tryout Dates & Times to be announced Thursday February 12th 2015

Contact Marvin Minkler :

Marvin@SoNoIceHouse.com / 203.956.0255

 

2015-16 Winter CT Oil Kings/ CT Oiler merger information announcement and tryout information coming soon too!


by posted 02/09/2015
Oil Kings on the NHL Radar

McDermott at Westminster

Johnny McDermott & McKay Flanagan Former Oil Kings on the NHL Radar

Left to right: Flanagan(Gunnery), McDermott(Westminster), Ventricelly(Westminister), Krispburg(S.Kent) & Bernard(Brunswick)

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Hockey players from Greenwich, Darien and Ridgefield were among the players listed last week when the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau released its midterm ranking of 2015 draft candidates from North America.

 Johnny McDermott of Darien, McKay Flanagan of Ridgefield and William Somers of Greenwich are among the players who made the list. All three boys are members of private school hockey teams.

 They were among the players featured in a MaxPreps’ article on standouts in the New England Prep School Athletic Council teams who drew interest from NHL scouts.

 McDermott, a center, plays for Westminster School in Simsbury. He had the highest ranking among the three Fairfield County players, at No. 106. McDermott is committed to play in college at Boston University. A former student at King in Stamford, McDermott had 31 goals and 36 assists in 50 games last year with the Connecticut Oilers.

 Flanagan, a defenseman for The Gunnery in Washington, was listed at No. 168. Flanagan played last year for the Connecticut Oilers, based in Norwalk.

 Somers, a winger, is a junior at Hotchkiss in Lakeville. He was ranked No. 206.

 For more on the players, read the story from MaxPreps. Click here for the complete list of prospects.

All three players played for CT Oil Kings 01/05 Head Coach Marvin Minkler essentially from mites to midgets and continue to skate with him in the off season.

Original article: http://darien.dailyvoice.com/sports/fairfield-county-hockey-players-draw-interest-nhl-scouts


by posted 01/29/2015
The Samoskevich Trick

Melissa Scores a Hat Trick against the Russians

Samoskevich’s hat trick shows the way for USA


 
  1.  
    Melissa Samoskevich didn’t describe her goals.The individual effort didn’t matter to the native of Sandy Hook, Conn. Sure she had three goals and the hat trick was nice. But the team... Read…
     
     

Americans rout Russia, earning bye to semifinals

U.S. player Presley Norby, right, congratulates Alex Woken on her second-period goal against Russia. Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

Melissa Samoskevich didn’t describe her goals.

The individual effort didn’t matter to the native of Sandy Hook, Conn. Sure she had three goals and the hat trick was nice. But the team scored seven. And the team is what matters most.

Humility aside, she did earn Player of the Game honors, pacing the United States to an offensive breakout win over Russia, 7-1, in front of 1,061 at HarborCenter on Thursday night.

“All three goals, it doesn’t really matter,” she said. “We had seven as a team. My three goals contributed, but at the end of the game it was the seven goals that counted.”

It was the boost the Americans needed to win Group A and earn a bye into Sunday’s semifinals along with Canada, who defeated the Czech Republic, also by a 7-1 margin.

Samoskevich gave the U.S. a 2-0 lead in the first period. Russia came out with a strong first shift in the second, notching a goal 33 seconds into the period.

But the American offense finally broke through. Smooth and strong, the offense not only generated chances but finished opportunities.

“I think what we’re doing is thinking less and playing more,” U.S. coach Joel Johnson said. “That’s the hard part of a two-week tournament is to try and cover all the things you want to teach and yet not over teach because at some point they just have to play.

“I think this was our best game as far as that’s concerned. They were still playing within our structure and our systems, but they were playing free and fast and that’s what we want.”

It was an impressive game from Samoskevich, who notched her third goal in the third period. A defenseman by trade who is committed to Quinnipiac, she moved to forward for this tournament. Team first, after all. And Thursday it started clicking.

“She’s versatile and … when she gets good chances, she can score,” Johnson said. “The first couple of games she was missing the net a little bit. Of course when you do that, you’re not going to bury your chances. I think she’s had a great tournament.”

The U.S. will play at 7 p.m. Sunday facing the winner of Friday’s quarterfinal between Czech Republic and Sweden.

Canada will play the 3:30 semifinal on Sunday against the winner of Friday’s other quarterfinal between Russia and Finland.

That puts the U.S. and Canada on a crash course for Monday’s gold medal game, already announced as a sellout by HarborCenter.

But players aren’t getting ahead of themselves. Micah Hart understands the importance of the daily grind. The Canadian captain was part of last year’s gold-medal winning team and has been a key influence for her teammates.

“Just take it step by step,” Hart said. “You can’t look ahead. You can’t look back. You just have to be in the moment all the time. It’s just focusing on the little things. Focusing on those details and those habits we want to be good at.”

Hart, a native of British Columbia who committed to play at Cornell next season, finished with two points and has provided the emotional road map for her team.

“She’s our energy,” Canada coach Cassie Turner said. “She’s that person when we need a jump she’s there to encourage people but when we also need to calm down, she’s there for that, too. She’s one of those players who had a good pulse of the entire group and they follow, which as a coach that’s all you want.”

Hart provided all that as six players scored. Sarah Potomack, a Minnesota commit, scored twice and finished with four points. Elizabeth Giguere had a three-point night with a goal and two assists, giving her five points in the tournament.

Also adding goals were Kristin O’Neill, Sarah-Eve Coutu-Godbout and Lindsay Agnew.

Group B came down to tiebreakers after Finland, Sweden and Switzerland all finished with two wins. Goal differential was the deciding factor as Switzerland was eliminated from medal contention and moved into the relegation round with Japan. The teams begin a best-of-three series at noon Friday.

email: amoritz@buffnews.com

 

 

Click Here to See the Post Game and Melissa's Goals!


by posted 01/09/2015
01 Oil Kings Take Down Fall Classic

01 CT Oil Kings

The 2001 Oil Kings Win The 2014 Fall Classic

***

The 01 Oil Kings were perfect on Sunday beating the Boston Jr. Terriers 4-0 in the semi-finals and beating the Richmond Generals 2-0 in the Championship. 

The Big 01 Green Machine went 4-0-1 for the weekend.


by posted 09/30/2014
SafeSport - USA Hockey

 

 

Dear USA Hockey Coach,

The USA Hockey SafeSport Program was implemented in full last season for its members. The SafeSport Program was developed in conjunction with the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) and is designed to prevent abuse and maximize the safety of our participants in the off-ice environment. The SafeSport Training is part of the Program and is intended to heighten awareness of those that are in supervisory positions over youth participants in our game.

We recognize that adding additional educational requirements increases the burden on our coaches, but as the primary and most direct leaders and supervisors of our youth teams, it is critical that all coaches are trained in ways that can help prevent abuse within our programs. In the 2013-14 season, all coaches were strongly encouraged to complete the SafeSport training, though some Affiliates did require that their coaches complete the training.

For the 2014-15 season, all coaches will be required to complete the SafeSport Training this season. The SafeSport Training is valid for 2 seasons. Thus if you took the training for 2013-14, you will not need to take the training again until the 2015-16 season (at which time a shorter “refresher” course will be available). USA Hockey strongly encourages and supports policies requiring that coaches complete SafeSport training prior to being added to a roster (and many Affiliates have adopted such policies). However, for this season only (2014-15), Affiliates may choose to extend the deadline for a coach to complete the training until 12/31/14.

The SafeSport Training is available for you to take right now so you can get a head start on your upcoming season. The training is available at no cost. The training was produced by the USOC and is comprised of short video segments that take approximately 90 minutes to complete; however, not all training needs to be completed in one session. You will need your USA Hockey Member Number, which can be obtained at www.usahockeyregistration.com (under Member Options, click on ‘Request Duplicate Registration Confirmation).

Information on how to register and access the SafeSport Training can be found on our website at http://www.usahockey.com/page/show/909009-safesport-program-training-. Also, please be sure to select the USA Hockey SafeSport course as there are multiple courses available. The website also has links if you have questions about the training or on registering for the training.

We strongly encourage you to get a head start on your 2014-15 season and complete the SafeSport Training this summer. Thank you for your diligence in helping make our sport as safe as possible!

Sincerely,


Mike MacMillan
National Coach-in-Chief

       


Mark Tabrum
Director, Coaching Education Program



 

 

 

Click Here to go to the USAHockey Web Site for SafeSport

 


by posted 07/24/2014
Tomasz Piatek Signs 6 Year Deal with The CT Oil Kings

Tomasz Piatek & Marvin Minkler 2014

The both popular and successful coach Tomasz Piatek who has coached both locally and professionally overseas has signed an exclusive coaching contract with the CT Oil Kings.

President of the CT Oil Kings Marvin Minkler said: "We are privileged to have Tomasz commit to the Oil Kings. I have known Tomasz personally and professionally for a very long time and his commitment to the kids and his passion to develop hockey players is exactly what the CT  Oil Kings are all about - we are excited to have him."

Along with a coaching contract Tomasz has been named Director of Hockey Operations for the CT Oil Kings


******
Tomasz spent time back in his home country of Poland from 2011-13 coaching Aksam Unia Oswiecim

 

by posted 03/07/2014
McDermott Commits to BU

Big Mac with the puck
CT Oil King 1997 Born Forward Johnny McDermott
Has Committed to Perennial Power House Boston University!

The 6'2" McDermott will join the scarlet and white Terriers when he graduates Westminster
!

Well Done Johnny!

by posted 02/20/2014
Melissa Samoskevich Commits To Quinnipiac University

Melissa Bangs One Home!
Melissa Samoskevich Commits To Quinnipiac University!!

Defenseman / Forward Melissa Samoskevich who was just names to the USA U18 National Team has committed to Connecticut's Quinnipiac University. Melissa is considered one of the top female prospects in the United States - the US Team sure could have used her today.

Well done Melissa!

by posted 02/20/2014
Melissa Samoskevich & Sandy Hook

Samoskevich honors hometown Sandy Hook victims

Sunday, 12.15.2013 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

By Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Preparing for one of the biggest games of her career, Melissa Samoskevich heard the news that will, in many ways, shape the rest of her life.

Samoskevich, 15 years old, was on a bus with her hockey teammates from the Shattuck-St. Mary's School varsity girls team on Dec. 14, 2012, settling in for the long bus ride from campus in Fairbault, Minn., to face a powerful Chicago Mission team, considered to be one of the best in the country.

The game for Shattuck would be a measuring stick against one of the toughest opponents on the schedule. The tough task ahead consumed the thoughts of Samoskevich as the bus ate up the miles toward the Windy City. When Samoskevich wasn't thinking about the game, and the role she hoped to play in it, she was thinking of an upcoming trip home to visit family during the holiday break.

But a phone call during that bus ride would send the sophomore's world off its axis. Samoskevich's mother, Patty, called that afternoon, the bearer of bad news about the family's hometown of Sandy Hook, Conn.

"My mom called me and [said] there was a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary," Samoskevich said. "Are you kidding? In Sandy Hook? I was dumbfounded. I remember getting on my laptop and putting the news on my laptop. When we finally got to the hotel, I found out how many lives were lost. I couldn't believe it."

The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School shocked the nation. In a horrifying chain of events, Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old from neighboring Newtown, Conn., murdered 26 people, including 20 children at the school. Lanza, who shot his mother before making his way to the school, took his own life as police responded.

Suddenly, the small elementary school where Melissa Samoskevich had spent five happy years as a student, was in the national news, the site of one of the deadliest school shootings in the history of the country. Suddenly, the small town of Sandy Hook, which held nothing but happy memories for Samoskevich and her family, was filled with mourners. Everywhere anyone looked, there were memorial ribbons. Vigils were held throughout the town in the days that followed. Then came the funerals and the grieving and numbness.

Everyone wanted to help Samoskevich's hometown. The NHL's Boston Bruins even visited in a good-will gesture designed to bring some happiness and relief to the shell-shocked populace.

A year later, Sandy Hook and the entire nation are still dealing with the aftermath of the second-deadliest mass shooting in American history.

Samoskevich left Sandy Hook a little more than a year before her village would change forever, packing her hockey bag and heading for Shattuck-St. Mary's, a school that has earned a well-deserved reputation for producing world-class hockey players. Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks and Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild went there before making it in the NHL.

Shattuck-St. Mary's, though, is just as adept at producing elite female players. Amanda Kessel, a member of the United States women's national team and the University of Minnesota women's team, (and the younger sister of NHL player Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs), went to the school. Brianna Decker, who plays for the national team and the University of Wisconsin, is a Shattuck product, as are the Lamoureux twins, Monique and Jocelyn. The sisters were members of the United States team which won the silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

One of the best players in her area, regardless of gender, for several years, Samoskevich was interested in that type of hockey challenge.

In eighth grade, Samoskevich was already playing shinny with seniors on the high school boys varsity team, which was the most recent manifestation of her talent. As a Peewee, she was a standout on the travel team, and the only girl on the squad.

Even the idea of checking never fazed Samoskevich, according to Marvin Minkler, who coached Samoskevich from Mites through her first season of Bantam hockey.

"She initiated [contact]," he said. "Guys wouldn't go to her side of the ice. Or they tried at the beginning of the game and realized that was a bad idea and would go to the other side. She didn't come to the rink without a smile on her face. Her smile is infectious. It's funny; she can play pretty tough and she still has that smile on her face. It's pretty great."

Samoskevich was born into a hockey-loving family.

Her father, Fred, is particularly passionate about the sport, having played through high school. Though many families look to stay warm through unforgiving New England winters, Fred wasted little time getting his family on his backyard rink.

"I'm the crazy guy in the neighborhood. Everyone else is complaining about their oil bill, I'm waiting for the temperature to go down below 32," Fred Samoskevich said. "When [Melissa] was 2, I put her on the ice. As soon as she could play hockey, she was there every weekend. She was having a blast and we were having a blast. She never was the kind of kid that was going to play dates here and there. She was always around older people."

Amanda Kessel is another elite female player produced by Shattuck-St. Mary's. (Photo: Getty Images)

That time with older people was generally spent on the ice. And being surrounded by older players, in most cases male, didn't just accelerate Samoskevich's hockey development. It also forced her to become more mature. It drove her to be tough and learn to battle through challenges against heightened competition. These were skills that would prove valuable as she got older.

Dominant as she was playing against older boys, there were things Melissa couldn't control. Most notably, the growth spurts the males were starting to experience.

"She started her Bantam-Minor year and the boys were giving it to her. She had been giving it to them for years," Fred Samoskevich said. "That summer, one of the kids came back and he must have grown a foot. I was just amazed. I knew I didn't want her to get injured. I knew she had a shot for all the national teams. It was pretty tough for her. That's basically why we sent her to Shattuck. We thought if she had to move on in girls hockey you wanted her to be with the best girls around."

Shattuck had firmly established itself as a top hockey program. When Amanda Kessel was awarded the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the best player in Division I women's hockey, it marked the second straight year a Shattuck had won the award, with Decker honored the year before.

It wasn't long before Samoskevich staked her claim as being a contender to continue the Shattuck legacy of producing world-class players. Coach Gordon Stafford was immediately impressed.

"She reminds me a little bit of Zach Parise," said Stafford, the father of Buffalo Sabres forward Drew Stafford. "Doggedly determined on the puck; her compete level is off the charts. Very few have the compete level that she has. We've had Brianna Decker here at Shattuck, she won the Patty Kazmaier. We had Phil Kessel's sister, Amanda. We had the Lamoureux twins. They were all complete players but they're offensively wired. I would put Melissa in the same conversation as them."

Placed on a varsity team which included Crosby's sister, Taylor, in goal, Samoskevich was quickly thrown into a program generally considered among the best in the country. But it was in her sophomore season Samoskevich came into her own when Stafford made the somewhat unorthodox decision to move the all-star defenseman to forward. Despite playing defense her entire life, Samoskevich embraced the opportunity.

A move to the top line placed her alongside Cornell University commit Morgan McKim and Bayley Wellhausen, who this summer verbally committed to the University of Wisconsin. Wellhausen is the niece of former NHL player and Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato and Cammi Granato, who is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The youngest player on the squad, Samoskevich finished fourth on the team with 36 points in 49 games. She helped lead a run that would take the team all the way to the semifinals of the Tier I girls tournament at the USA Hockey High School National Championships.

"Last season we were going through a bit of a slump. That's when I moved Melissa for good up to forward and put her with Baylee and Morgan McKim," Stafford said. "That just sparked our whole team from that time on. We weren't as deep last year as we had been in other years and they just carried us through to the semifinals of the national tournament."

"It's a small, really quiet town. It's home. There's not really a place like it. Every time I go somewhere and people ask me for an address, they kind of take a step back. It's just a different feel. It's still Sandy Hook. It hasn't changed. It's always going to be there, it's just brought us closer." -- Melissa Samoskevich

When the news started to develop from Sandy Hook, hockey was the furthest thing from Samoskevich's mind. Her first thoughts were of her siblings, 11-year-old twins, Mackie, her brother, and Madison, her sister. The pair were students at Sandy Hook Elementary two years earlier, and as those initial moments of dread numbed Samoskevich, she momentarily feared the worst.

As it turned out, the twins were in lockdown at the local middle school which, like most of the other schools in the area, had secured its doors and kept its students close. Samoskevich eventually learned the twins and her parents were OK.

Once the safety of her loved ones was confirmed, Samoskevich faced the tough decision of whether she would play hockey against the Chicago Mission.

"We gave her the option. She wanted to play. I don't think it crossed her mind not to play," Stafford said. "Our school counselor called me. The way it is with social media; the girls have their phones on the bus. So we knew eventually that was going to come through to her. She was basically with 35 sisters on the bus. She took it with the same shock and dismay as anybody would. But the support of her teammates was big in that."

It dawned on Samoskevich she was no longer playing for only herself or for Shattuck-St. Mary's.

"Honestly, it was kind of a motivation thing. I was playing for Sandy Hook, playing for all the kids, for the families," Samoskevich said. "It was a big rivalry game and we ended up winning. The game went well. They ended up beating us the whole rest of the season. But it was a good game."

Samoskevich didn't necessarily make any game-changing plays in that hard-fought victory. But the day has stayed with her and it continues to drive her as she establishes herself as one of the top teenage girls players in the world.

While Melissa was on a bus heading to Chicago trying to find out what was happening in her hometown, her father was in the middle of history unfolding, standing outside Sandy Hook Elementary trying to help direct traffic as local and state police descended on the school, which is one-quarter mile from the Samoskevich home.

"My wife and I were having breakfast at the Blue Colony Diner. We were having breakfast right at the window out front and we saw Newtown PD go by. He had to be going 90 mph. I'll never forget this, my wife looked at me and said, 'He's driving way too fast,'" Fred Samoskevich said. "After that, there were multiple troopers and ambulances throughout the town coming from every direction. I was just directing traffic. I just pulled in there [Sandy Hook Elementary] and it was chaos. Troopers were flying in there."

Among the 26 dead was Anne Marie Murphy, who taught Melissa in second grade. Madison Samoskevich remembered another victim, Victoria Soto, as her favorite teacher.

Five days afterward, Melissa returned home for the holidays. After a semester in which she played some of her best hockey for one of the country's foremost hockey programs, she was happy to be with her family. In the wake of the shooting, she found strength in returning to a community that was coming together in the face of tragedy.

"It's a small, really quiet town. It's home. There's not really a place like it," said Samoskevich, who admits the headlines of the past year have altered the way the world views her quaint hometown. "Every time I go somewhere and people ask me for an address, they kind of take a step back. It's just a different feel. It's still Sandy Hook. It hasn't changed. It's always going to be there, it's just brought us closer."

The support from around the country that poured in following the shooting was appreciated by the local citizens, but soon people in the area were focused on coming together as a community again.

"I don't want to say we didn't care about each other before things happened. But after it happened, it sunk in how delicate life is," Fred Samoskevich said. "You can see the change around town a little bit."

After the holiday break, Melissa's success picked up when she returned to Shattuck-St. Mary's, continuing a series of sporting highlights that started in the summer when the United States national team came calling.

Samoskevich was invited to be a part of the United States' preliminary roster for the International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Under-18 Championship. She was one of two 15-year-olds on the team and was the second-youngest player invited to the camp, behind defenseman Jincy Dunne.

After receiving the invitation from USA Hockey, Samoskevich competed in a three-game series against Canada in Lake Placid, N.Y. She hoped that invite might provide the impetus for her to make the national team. But Samoskevich experienced a rare hockey disappointment.

She returned to Shattuck-St. Mary's and roughly a week later was on the bus when she heard about the tragedy in her hometown. Not making the U.S. Under-18 team was difficult, but it ultimately allowed her to spend an extra two-and-a-half weeks at home with her family instead of in Finland had she made the final cut. Considering how important that time with her family was, getting cut may well have been a blessing in disguise.

"I got home and our whole downtown was covered with everything, pictures, ribbons, stuffed animals. It was crazy," Samoskevich said. "It was sad but it kind of really showed how much support we had. Our town was really close after that. It just kind of showed how much it really meant to us."

Representing her country was an eye-opening experience.

"You can't explain it. When that anthem is going, you're shaking. It's so hard to explain. It's unbelievable," she said. "You're shaking, you feel like you're going to drop all your equipment because you're squeezing it so hard. When I first put on the jersey, even just sitting in the stall, it's surreal. Honestly, is this even happening right now? I'm wearing a USA jersey."

"You can't explain it. When that anthem is going, you're shaking. It's so hard to explain. It's unbelievable. You're shaking, you feel like you're going to drop all your equipment because you're squeezing it so hard. When I first put on the jersey, even just sitting in the stall, it's surreal. Honestly, is this even happening right now? I'm wearing a USA jersey." -- Melissa Samoskevich

When Samoskevich returned to Shattuck for the spring semester, she immediately began wearing a sticker on her helmet honoring the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. With the decal on her helmet and her play on the ice, Samoskevich was representing her grieving town with grace, dignity and a maturity she's demonstrated since she first started playing with those older boys in Sandy Hook.

During the recent Thanksgiving break, Samoskevich again returned to her hometown, this time finding the sign outside Sandy Hook Elementary School removed and the school in the process of being demolished. The town remains covered with ribbons and memorials to the lives lost on Dec. 14, 2012. A year after those tragic events, she cherishes every moment she gets to spend in Sandy Hook, maybe now more than ever.

"I love going back. Family is really big in my life. We're very close. To see them, it's amazing. To go home to Sandy Hook just ties it all together. It's one big family," she said. "You see the ribbons around light posts and stuff. It's kind of back to normal, I guess. It's quiet. But the ribbons just remind us of what happened. It still gives you the shivers just looking at [the school]. Oh my God. It's such a tragedy."

Soon after Thanksgiving, Samoskevich was informed by USA Hockey she earned an opportunity to compete for a spot on the national U-18 team at the upcoming World Championship in Budapest, Hungary. If she earns one, she plans on wearing the Sandy Hook decal on her helmet.

"If she makes that team, I'm going to ask the staff if I can buy stickers that say 'We support Sandy Hook' for their helmets or something like that," her father said.

Melissa Samoskevich wasn't able to go home for the one-year anniversary of the events that suddenly put her town in the news. She was back in Chicago competing against the Chicago Mission and wearing a Sandy Hook sticker on her helmet.

The odds appear to be in her favor to go to Hungary with the experience she has gained since the first camp. When she received her jersey for the most recent camp, she said she was assigned No. 26, the number of Sandy Hook Elementary staff and students who died. Melissa Samoskevich didn't ask for the number, but she's happy to honor her hometown in any number of ways in Budapest and throughout her hockey career.

Just the thought of doing so brought her proud father to tears.

"That means a lot. It really does. More than ever," Fred Samoskevich said of the opportunity for his daughter to play for the United States. "It would be amazing. It would be really great."

---


by posted 12/16/2013
'01 Oil Kings Take The Fall Classic

Capturing the spirit of the thing!
Stamford, CT - The 2001 Connecticut Oil Kings held the hot hand all weekend at the highly competitive Fall Classic at The Stamford Twin Rinks. The Oil Kings went 4-1 through the tournament and beat the feisty Providence Capitals 5-2 in the Championship game on Sunday. 

The CT Oil Kings kicked off the tournament beating the CT Wolf Pack 6-2. The Oil Kings received 6 goals from 5 different player: Jonas Passante had a pair, Jake Repaci, Nicky Scollard, James Monahan and Tristan Fasig each had one.

Game two was a tight defensive battle and featured some great goaltending from Parker Ravosa and his counterpart goaltender Max Macchioni from The Providence Capitals - the Caps squeaked by with a 1-0 win.

Game three was the "go or go home game" against the speedy players from Team ComCast. The CT Oil Kings went down early 2-0 but stayed resilient and batted back to tie it in up the second period 2-2. The third period was a back and forth battle with Parker Ravosa making some big saves for the Oil Kings. The Oil Kings kept grinding, finally breaking through with 1:33 left in the third when Christian Sarlo snipped from the top of the circle. Then a minute later with :33 seconds left in the game, Sarlo found the back of the empty net to seal the deal for the CT Kings.

Sunday's semi finals put the #1 seed Mercer Chiefs against the Oil Kings. the Kings scored early and often beating a tough Mercer Chief team 6-1. Goal scorers were Jack Ferguson, Marcus Kivisikk, Jonas Passante and Christian Sarlo had a pair. Mackie Samoskevich had a 4 point day with a goal and three helpers.  

The Finals were a rematch with the Providence Capitals who had earlier beat the Oil Kings 1-0. If there were any doubts they evaporated quickly, when the Oil Kings jumped out to a 3-0 lead within the first 8 minutes. The Kings then battled the rest of the way killing countless penalties including a third period 5 on 3. The CT Oil Kings stayed tough and held on to win 5-2 winning their first Tournament Championship of the season!

The CT Kings will be training hard over the next month, October finds the CT Oil Kings on the road at the Warrior Invitational tournament out in Michigan October 18-20. The CT Oil Kings are still looking to schedule games including some with the Mid Fairfield Yankees located just a mile and a half from the Stamford Twin Rinks - but for some reason they can't find the time.
 
 
 

by posted 09/23/2013
Out of the Box at the Bog!

Kings vs. Boston
Labor Day Face Off ~ Invitational Tournament / Kingston, MA 2013
 
The 01 CT Oil Kings came out of the gate strong this past weekend against some stiff competition from the Boston area. The 01’s fired the fist shot beating the Valley Forge Minutemen 6-0. The second game ended in a 1-1 tie in a goaltending dual between Parker Ravosa and the stingy Bay State Breakers. Game 3 saw the Oil Kings again victorious scoring four unanswered goals in a 4-1 win over the Boston Advantage. Game 4 had the South Shore Kings edge the Oil Kings 3-2 in a tight checking game great goaltending game.
 
The Oil Kings finished second in the overall standings and played the Bay State Breakers in the #2 vs. #3 semi-final game on Monday morning. The Oil Kings trailed 2-0 going into the 3rd period, but their never say die attitude allowed them to dig out of the hole and tuck 2 late in the 3rd to tie things up. One overtime, two over times and then three Trevor Souza bangs one home 5-hole sending the 01 Oil Kings to the finals for a rematch against the South Shore Kings.
 
The finals featured the rapidly maturing CT Oil Kings battle the highly talented speedy South Shore Kings. In another close game the South Shore Kings held off the late surging Oil Kings to squeak away with a 3-2 win and the championship hardware. Not a bad start for the Oil Kings at all.  
 
Who Was Hot?
Parker Ravosa led the way in the nets all weekend and was amazing for the Oil Kings in every game.
 
Top 5 scorers for the weekend: AJ Von Brauchitsch. Christian Sarlo, Marcus Kivisikk, James Monahan and Jackson Brosgol.
 
Top D: Jack Ferguson, Joe Cascio, Trevor Souza and Sean Breslin
 
Point Getters: Mackie Samoskevich, Josh Fuss, Tristan Fasig, and Nicky Scollard

 

by posted 09/03/2013
Taggart Corriveau & Sam Nestor - Best Forwards


by posted 07/29/2013
Josh Sarlo Chowder Cup MVP

Jash Sarlo

by posted 07/29/2013
Greg Krispberg Best D - Chowder Cup 2013


by posted 07/29/2013
U16 CT Oil Kings Win Chowder Cup!

2013 Chowder Cup Champions
Congratulations to the U16 CT Oil Kings

2013 Chowder Cup Champions

The CT Oil Kings in their debut tournament went 7-0 winning the prestigious 2013 Chowder Cup


U16 Team
Drew Hickey - McKay Flanagan - Anthony Vincent - Jamie Carnavalla - Kevin O'Leary - Jesse Anderson - Sam Nestor - John McDermott - Colin Bernard - Brady Collins - Barclay Gammill - Brian Smyth - Taggart Courriveau - Mike Ventricelli - Gregory Krisberg - Josh Sarlo


The following player received tournament All-Star recognition:

All Star Forward - Taggart Courreau
All Star Forward - Sam Nestor
All Star Defenseman - Gregory Krispberg
Tournament MVP - Josh Sarlo


Great Job Boys ~ Well Done!


 


 

by posted 07/28/2013
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