This article was written by Greenwich Sports Beat intern Dylan Drury, a Sacred Heart Greenwich student.
Sacred Heart Greenwich is welcoming an ice hockey club team to its athletic program. The team began its inaugural season in November. Sacred Heart hopes to move the ice hockey team to the NEPSAC, where it aims to compete as a varsity Class A team during the 2023-2024 season.
The new team is led by head coach Sonia Occhionero. Coach Occhionero played ice hockey at the Kent School where she was the team captain and earned MVP and conference all-star awards. Occhionero then continued her ice hockey career at Manhattanville College. At Manhattanville, she was an assistant captain and received all-conference and all-academic awards.
Abbie Ives is the Tigers’ assistant coach. Coach Ives played as a goalie at Quinnipiac University, where, similar to coach Occhionero, she was the assistant captain. During her senior year, she was named MVP. Ives currently plays for the Connecticut Whales, a professional ice hockey team located in Danbury. Coach Ives has also coached for the Mid-Fairfield Youth Hockey Association.
Sacred Heart’s brand-new hockey team will practice three times a week, twice in the morning and once in the afternoon, at Chelsea Piers Connecticut. They hope to play a few scrimmages against JV teams in the area.
Sacred Heart senior Erin Griffin is excited to begin playing ice hockey for her high school, after being one of the students to start the team.
“We are so excited to finally have a hockey team at Sacred Heart,” Griffin said. “I have played hockey my whole life and to finally have a team at school is going to be so much fun, and it will be a great way for student athletes to bond, but also great for so many girls to learn how to play the sport.”
The program emphasizes that anyone can join and you do not need to have a certain skill level to participate.
“The plan is to ensure each player is getting better every day by working on individual skills and learning the fundamentals of the sport,” Occhionero said. “The main goal for this season is to create the foundation for the program for years to come. A team that has a tight-knit culture and prides itself on hard work and tons of fun. Secondly, I hope that this season inspires the Sacred Heart community to join the program and spread the love for the sport.”