BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - After serving as an assistant last season under Matt Anderson who stepped down, Mike Criscitello was announced as the new head coach for the GL hockey team back in June. The first year coach looks to improve on a 5-15-2 record last season after moving up to the highly competitive McInnis division.
Personally, Criscitello has a long history of loving hockey. He started playing hockey as far back as he could remember. He grew up in Edison, New Jersey and he played for the Montclair Blues club team. As a teen, he attended Edison High School where he lettered in hockey. After graduation, Criscitello played hockey one season at NJIT until he realized his future would be on the bench as a mentor and coach. Now, Criscitello is a math and computer science teacher at nearby New Providence High School.
Criscitello is very optimistic towards the season for GL. He says that he wants to “improve from last season, that’s always the goal.” GL compiled a 5-15-2 record last season after raising the banner for the Kelly Cup two seasons ago. GL moved up to the competitive McInnis Division last season which has some of the best hockey programs in the area, such as Montclair, Montclair Kimberley, Summit, and more.
The team is led by senior captains Ryan Erickson, Carson Whalers, and Max Mele along with six other seniors -- each brings a lot of game time experience. Criscitello also rotates four juniors, four sophomores, and four freshmen through recent scrimmages to complete the varsity roster. The new coach also stressed the importance of off-season workouts at both the school in the summer months every Wednesday and at a local gym.
Criscitello’s plan is “to ensure the whole development of the players on the team.” The program has grown over the past few years and he was attracted to coaching GL hockey because he saw an, “opportunity to coach the game he loves for a great group of kids.”
So far, Coach Criscitello’s team is on the right track, and it hopes to make some noise in just its second year in the higher division.