Success of Sacred Heart
When discussing powerhouse teams in the world of hockey, names like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Chicago Blackhawks often come to mind. But in recent years, another team has been making waves and cementing their place in the hockey world: the Sacred Heart Pioneers.
Located in Fairfield, Connecticut, Sacred Heart University may not be the first school that comes to mind when thinking of hockey, but under the leadership of head coach CJ Marottolo, they have become a force to be reckoned with. In this article, we’ll take a look at the rise of the Sacred Heart men’s hockey team and the ingredients that have led to their recent success.
A Program Reborn
The Sacred Heart men’s hockey program first began in 1993 as a Division III team. After a brief stint in Division II, the program moved up to Division I in 1998. However, success did not come easily for the Pioneers. In fact, it wasn’t until 2003 that the team had their first winning season.
But with the hiring of CJ Marottolo in 2010, the program began to see significant growth and change. Marottolo, a former Sacred Heart player himself, brought a passion and dedication to the team that had been lacking. And it wasn’t long before that passion started to pay off.
Building a Strong Foundation
One of the keys to Sacred Heart’s success has been Marottolo’s ability to recruit top talent. He has a keen eye for identifying skilled players and has brought in a mix of talented players from both the United States and Canada.
One notable player is former team captain Liam Clare, who went on to play professionally in the ECHL after graduating from Sacred Heart in 2015. This past season, the Pioneers had an impressive eight players sign professional contracts after their collegiate careers.
But it’s not just about recruiting top talent; Marottolo also places a strong emphasis on building a close-knit team. The players are committed to each other and the team, creating a strong brotherhood on and off the ice. This sense of camaraderie and unity has played a crucial role in the team’s success.
Breaking Records and Setting the Bar High
Under Marottolo’s leadership, Sacred Heart has seen some remarkable accomplishments. In the 2019-2020 season, the Pioneers set a program record with 21 wins and earned their first trip to the NCAA tournament.
This season, despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, the Pioneers have continued to break records. They have set a new program record for the longest unbeaten streak, going 13-0-1 in their last 14 games. And they’ve also earned their first-ever Atlantic Hockey regular-season title.
Looking Ahead to the Future
As Sacred Heart continues to dominate on the ice, the future looks bright for the Pioneers. With a strong recruiting strategy and a dedicated coaching staff, the team is positioned for continued success.
The program has also recently added a brand new state-of-the-art hockey facility, providing the team with top-notch resources to train and develop their skills. This modern facility will no doubt attract even more top talent to the program.
In addition to the on-ice success, the Pioneers also prioritize academic achievement. The team boasts a 100% graduation rate, with players earning degrees in diverse fields such as finance, marketing, and exercise science.
In a world dominated by traditional hockey powerhouses, the rise of the Sacred Heart Pioneers is a refreshing and inspiring story. With a solid foundation, a passion for the sport, and a commitment to success, this team has become a force to be reckoned with on and off the ice.