The South Windsor Youth Hockey Association is focused on providing their hockey players with the best opportunities possible for player development. True to their word, the SWYHA Board has placed an emphasis on player skill advancement and goalie expansion for the 2023-2024 hockey season. True player development begins with the Coaches and it's going to be an exciting year as we welcome some new additions to our coaching staff. We are also grateful for returning experienced leaders that continue to show loyalty and dedication to the South Windsor Youth Hockey Association program. This year the SWYHA Board has also committed to Coaching Development this season in order to provide as many resources as possible for developing our organizations' players and goalies.
Head of Coaching/Head Coach Mite A
Coach Wolf is currently serving as Head of Coaching and the Head Coach for the Mite A Team. In addition to coaching for South Windsor, Coach Wolf is going on his 7th season as the Assistant Coach for Kingswood Oxford’s Boys Varsity Hockey Program. He is a level 4 coach who has several years of experience coaching all ages from Learn to Skate through High School. Coach Wolf has a tremendous passion for the game of hockey and even more passion for coaching it. If you were to ask him what he likes better, playing or coaching, he would hands down say coaching. The thrill in watching someone develop and improve is what drives Mike’s passion to coach. Coach Wolf believes very strongly in the following, “failure breeds success”. “In-order-to achieve anything outside of the norm you need to challenge yourself, you need to know it’s ok to make mistakes, as that is how you activate creativity and that will separate talent, while allowing all kids to enjoy the game of hockey and play to the best of their ability without fear, but more importantly have fun. That builds character and develops better athletes.”
Head Players Skills & Development
Professional Hockey Player, Springfield Thunderbirds
Drew Callin, currently assigned to the Springfield Thunderbirds for the 23/24 season, is a 2019 Bentley University graduate and was a standout in their hockey program. Prior to playing for the Thunderbirds, the St. Louis Blues affiliate, Callin spent time with the Worcester Railers and Rapid City Rush.
As a 5th year pro hockey player, Callin brings a level of experience, energy and empowerment to the SWYHA organization. When asked about his desire to coach South Windsor Youth Hockey Association players, Callin explained, “I want to help grow the love and passion for hockey in the South Windsor community. Through my experiences with hockey, I am hoping to create a foundation for the kids to grow as hockey players and as people. South Windsor Youth Hockey is a great organization to be a part of and I am looking forward to working with the kids this hockey season. GO KNIGHTS!”
Director of Goaltender Development
Coach Wierbicki leads our Goaltender coaching staff with many certifications earned along the way. In March of 2021, Coach Wierbicki was recognized by USA Hockey as a Goaltending Development Leader (GDL) for the NEW England Region. Nationally, he has received his Level 5 USA Hockey Certification, completed USA Hockey Goaltending module and has been accredited with USA Hockey Goaltending Bronze and Silver Certifications. In the near future, Coach Wierbicki hopes to acquire his Goaltending Gold Certification. On the local level, Coach Wierbicki has completed the CIAC 45-Clock Hour Coaching Course and recently acquired a Connecticut Coaching License in the Summer of 2023. As the Director of Goaltender Development, one of Coach Wierbicki’s goals is to improve the quality of the goaltending experience at all levels. He is accomplishing this by utilizing educational tools from inside the SWYHA, Pro Crease Goaltending, owned and mentored by Jared Waimon, a 2X Stanley Cup Champion Goalie Scout for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and directly from USA Hockey.
Goaltender Development - Partnership
PRO CREASE GOALTENDING, East Berlin, Connecticut
Pro Crease Goaltending, LLC (PCG) is the largest instructional hockey organization dedicated solely to goaltending in Connecticut and New York; the company also serves organizations and academic institutions in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. PCG was founded in 2008 by Jared Waimon who serves as PCG’s Owner/Founder. Along with a staff of twenty (20) premier goaltending instructors, PCG provides a wide range of services from summer and year-round camps to elite private instruction for prep schools, Division I-III colleges, and youth organizations. Pro Crease can be found working with SWYHA players monthly, at no extra charge to the players.
Co-Head Coach – Mite C
Karl Norton will serve as the Head Coach of the Mite Travel Team for the upcoming 2023/24 season, his 39th year coaching. This will also be his 14th season coaching at SWYHA. He is a USA Hockey Level 4 Coach, and has attended coaching seminars hosted by Way of Champions and Changing the Game (Jerry Lynch & John O’Sullivan), Bloodline Hockey (Vince Malts), and most recently Be Higher Brain (Greg Poss).
Karl has dedicated himself to improving as a coach believing that the youth hockey experience should be filled with learning, hard work, and fun for the players and parents. He has a passion for the game, and the people who play it, and is always seeking to learn how to be a more effective coach. He loves encouraging young people to overcome challenges so that they develop the confidence that comes from improving and being part of a team, and has developed many meaningful and caring relationships over a lifetime of coaching.
He began his ice hockey journey playing pond hockey with his friends in the Rockville area. Inspired by the success of the Boston Bruins in the 1960’s, he joined Eastern CT Hockey, the precursor of ECHO, so that he could emulate his NHL heroes. He was a member of Rockville’s first High School hockey team in 1971-72, playing his home games at South Windsor Arena. While attending school at Syracuse University to study Architecture, he started coaching as an assistant, in the Camillus NY Youth Hockey Association. Upon returning to Connecticut, he continued coaching at ECHO, now playing out of Bolton, coaching Squirts through Bantams for 18 seasons. He coached teams representing the Northeast during the first three years of the Nutmeg games, coached HS players with the CT Valley Hockey Club, and coached two tournaments with Team Connecticut. After a total of 24 seasons, he took a 13-year break, returning to help coach in SWYHA. Since then, he has coached Squirt though Bantam, many of those seasons working with two teams. Currently residing in South Glastonbury, Karl hopes to continue coaching for many more seasons!
Assistant Coach - Mite A
Adam Swierbutowicz is currently the Assistant Coach for the 8U Mite A Team. He is USA Hockey Level 1 Certified. Adam's coaching philosophy is one of teamwork, discipline, skill development and fun. Adam's goal is to create a relaxed and enjoyable learning environment, on and off the ice.
Adam is a native of South Windsor, CT and grew up playing his youth and high school hockey in South Windsor. He was a member of South Windsor High School's 96-97 Division II State Championship Team and a CT Division I First Team All-State selection in 1998. After graduating from South Windsor High in 1998, Adam played NCAA Division III college hockey in the ECAC Northeast, for Western New England University. Adam still skates in local adult leagues.
Head Coach - Squirt A1
Nick Gionfriddo serves as the Head Coach of the Squirt A for the 2023-2024 season. This is Nick’s 6th year coaching, 3nd year as head coach.
Nick’s heart has been with South Windsor Hockey starting with Learn to Skate at the age of 3, all the way to Midgets where he then joined the South Windsor High School Varsity team as a freshman in 2013 and played 4 years of hockey there. Throughout those years, Nick has volunteered a significant amount of time to the association where he then showed interest in pursuing a coaching career after graduating high school in 2017.
Nick has many years of experience from the defensive position and a forward position where he understands both sides of the ice and is looking forward to sharing that knowledge and experience with our young athletes. He has been surrounded with many great coaches throughout his career where he has taken away a lot of information and can now apply it to his own way of coaching. Nick brings fun and knowledge to the ice and hopes that at the end of the day our athletes become more educated in the game and want to keep coming back!
Head Coach - 10U Squirt B1
Coach "Jimmy" O’Brien loves the sport of hockey and adores the town of South Windsor. Although he was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, he moved to South Windsor 11 years ago as his wife Natalie is an art teacher in town. While he was in the Bronx, he began coaching at the age of 18 specializing in developing new players to the game. He spent the 2022-2023 as an assistant coach for the Squirt B team and will now serve as head coach for the Squirt B1 team. His coaching philosophy centers around individual player development, as well as a focus on a lifelong appreciation for the game of hockey. He played competitive hockey in high school in the Bronx, New York, and then was captain of a division three college team for four years at SUNY New Paltz. Even during his time as a graduate student at University of Connecticut, he served as the player/coach for the UCONN travel club roller hockey team. Coach Jimmy still plays with friends and coaches alike every Thursday and Sunday night. When he is not on the ice, he is a professor at Springfield College in physics, mathematics and computer science.
Assistant Coach 18U Midget
Coach Dave is a lifelong resident of South Windsor. He played 4 years of Club Hockey at Springfield College in Massachusetts. Coach Dave has been both Head and Assistant coach at all levels from Learn to skate through Bantams. He is presently the Head of Coaching for South Windsor Youth Hockey. Coach Dave can still be found lacing up the skates on Thursday nights at South Windsor Arena.
Head Coach - 18U Midget
Doug Hutton started coaching for South Windsor Youth Hockey in 2006. He has been a head coach and assistant coach at every level from 8U Mites through 18U Midgets and is level 4 certified with USA Hockey.
Doug has a strong love for the game of hockey and wants to share his passion for hockey and team sports in general with the players he coaches. His focus is on individual development and to create a lifelong love for the game of hockey within his players.
Doug started playing youth hockey with ECHO and played midgets and juniors with Columbia. After high school, Doug went on to play club hockey at Colby College in Waterville, ME. Today, Doug plays 1-3 per week with local men's league hockey.
Assistant Coach – 18U Midget
Gabe Hathorn is currently the Assistant Coach for the 18U MidgetTeam and the Former Past President of South Windsor Youth Hockey. Prior to taking on the role of head coach, Gabe has coached at South Windsor Youth Hockey as either an assistant coach or head coach for 10 seasons. He is USA Hockey Level 4 Certified.
Gabe has a passion for the game of hockey and wants to share that passion with the next generation of hockey players. His style is to bring a light and positive energy onto the ice and share his knowledge of the game to help develop each and every player.
South Windsor Youth Hockey has been a home for Gabe ever since he started playing hockey at the age of 4. He played his entire youth hockey and high school hockey at South Windsor. While playing for SWHS, Gabe was a two-time First Team All-State selection. After high school, he continued playing at the State University of NY at Geneseo, a Division III program in the SUNYAC Conference. At Geneseo, Gabe was a 4-year varsity player and was named captain during his Senior year. Gabe still skates once a week simply because he loves playing the game of hockey.
SWYHA Parent Liaison, Assistant Coach 8U Mites
The intent of the parent liaison is to allow a family of the SWYHA to have their voice heard even if they are not available for formal sessions such as board meetings. In this role, Travis is available via phone, text, email or even leer for all parents to bring up concerns with the association, board, coaching staff and arena concerns as well. All concerns are kept anonymous, and allows us an organization to have a constant pulse of things on your mind and respond accordingly in a timely fashion.