CLINTON – The Clinton Girls varsity ice hockey team will have their third head coach in three years – Rob Kopek of Rome.
The team won a state title in 2019-2020 with Nicole Ruddy at the helm. When the team may have had an abridged season last year due to the effect of COVID-19 on the winter sports season, it was SUNY Morrisville coach Melissa Lomanto who temporarily held the job. Clinton’s head coach position.
The season of SUNY Morrisville has been canceled due to COVID.
Kopek goes from assistant coach – a role he has held for four seasons – to head coach.
Kopek takes over a team that went 5-0 in 12 season days earlier this year. Among the players on the list is his daughter, Drew, a junior striker at Rome Free Academy who plays on the Unified Clinton squad made up of players from half a dozen local schools.
The team haven’t lost in their last 19 games, a streak that includes their run for the state title.
The Clinton Board of Education officially approved Kopek’s hiring at its September 28 meeting.
“I got a call from the sporting director a few weeks ago to offer me the job and I was happy to take it,” Kopek said this week. âI’m retiring in January so I’m looking for things to do. I’ll get involved anyway. It was the moment. Everything worked.
Kopek said he intended to train even after his daughter graduated. âI have every intention of continuing the program and remaining the head coach. “
As for his coaching approach, he said: âI don’t see much to change. Nicole and I thought a lot of the same. It picks up where it left off. The squad are also bringing back a number of players, including Kopek, Kelsey Fuller junior from Rome Free Academy, Ella Greico senior from New Hartford, Sadie Davignon senior from Clinton and Casey Clausen, the team’s goalie of the season. last. “I lost a few key things, but I expect a lot of young talent to contribute,” said the coach.
The schedule for this season is set and it is, said Kopek, “busy this season”. The team once again shares a league with Oswego, Ithaca and Skaneateles, with home and away games against each this season. Teams are coming to northern town and the lower state section I have added girls to ice hockey in some schools who will make it to section III to play. There is also a pair of games against Alexandria Bay. Clinton will play six home games at the Clinton Arena and four more at the Kennedy Arena in Rome.
Kopek also noted that the team is looking for an assistant coach and inquiries can be directed to the office of athletic director Mike King at 315-557-2231.