We’re inching closer to the first day of practice, so I’ll be checking in from time to time with news and notes. Here’s a story from today’s Journal News on Chris Lombardo, the new man in charge at Mahopac.
By Mike Dougherty
Chris Lombardo knows exactly what he’s walking into.
The new Mahopac hockey coach got to see a lot of the Indians over the years from the opposing bench. He spent eight seasons with Kennedy/Putnam Valley before making the jump.
No introductions were necessary.
“I would say right now we’re looking at pretty healthy numbers compared to some of the schools I know,” said Lombardo, who’s hoping to have 35 players between varsity and modified teams. “I know we have a small group of seniors coming back along with a few eighth- and ninth-graders who saw time last year.”
Practice starts Nov. 7.
Mahopac was 15-5-2 last season and won Conference I under longtime coach Steve Tuite, who left the program because of a conflict with his day job. Until they get on the ice, the Indians are holding captain’s practices and doing team building.
It’s all part of the adjustment period.
“They’re doing some off-ice training and getting the group together for things like Ultimate Frisbee and football,” said Lombardo, 32, who is the manager of Brewster Ice Arena. “It’s a good way to get them all together and get the younger kids involved.”
On the ice, Lombardo isn’t rushing into anything.
He prefers to play a more aggressive style than what Mahopac has employed in recent seasons, but he’d like to get to know the roster a little better before he locks into a game plan.
“I’m not sure exactly what we have on the ice yet,” Lombardo said. “I’m kind of an offensive-minded guy. I know that’s going to be an adjustment because they’ve always been a defensive team.”
The league will provide a test almost every time out.
“It’s going to be very competitive,” Lombardo said. “A lot of the better kids like Steve Santini and Tyler Gyscek are gone. There’s a lot of parity. Brewster and John Jay are very strong and have a lot back. We’re in with Lakeland/Panas, Carmel, Yorktown and Somers/North Salem, and we’re all fairly even.”