MVH: New season, new head coach

Mrs. Sosnowski works just as hard out on the ice as she does in school, but instead of grading tests or checking in homework, she's running practices and setting up lines. (Photo credit: Caitlin Somerville)

Mrs. Sosnowski works just as hard out on the ice as she does in school, but instead of grading tests or checking in homework, she's running practices and setting up lines. (Photo credit: Caitlin Somerville)

Caitlin Somerville, Senior Staff Reporter

This fall was full of changes for the Mercy Varsity Ice Hockey team. Besides losing teammates, gaining new ones, and moving up a division, head coach Joe Jones resigned and assistant coach and math teacher Valerie Sosnowski stepped into his shoes. Newsprint spoke with Mrs. Sosnowski about the changes.

Q: What was your initial reaction to finding out you got the job as head coach?
A: I was honored and very excited to work with this great group of girls.

Q: What is your background in hockey? What are your qualifications for the job?
A: I started playing hockey in 1997, coed house hockey. I switched to girls 15U AAA for 2 years, then 3 years in 19U AAA; the age divisions were different back then. The highlight of my playing career was going to the Division I National Championship in Alaska in 2002. After high school, I transitioned from playing to officiating. I officiated the National Championship tournament from 2005 to 2011 for youth, women’s, and college hockey. I officiated Women’s College Division 3 and Division 1 hockey for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). I went to national training camps in Lake Placid, NY in 2005 and 2007, CCHA training camps in 2007 and 2008, and District Officiating Camp in 2010. I started working at Mercy and joined the hockey coaching staff in 2013. We won the Division 2 State Championship in 2015 and moved to Division I this year.

Q: What are your goals for the team this year?
A: My goal is to prepare the team to win every game, for the student-athletes to work harder than they’ve ever worked before and have more fun than they’ve ever had before.

Q: What will you bring to the team? Any changes?
A: We have a great foundation, which I will look to build upon to continue our success.

Q: What are you most excited for this season?
A: I am excited to see the strides we can make as a team from where we are now to where I see us at the end of the season.

Q: Having been on the coaching staff the past two years, what has been your favorite part about coaching at Mercy?
A: My favorite part about coaching was watching the girls join together and cheer their teammates and their friends on. For example, when a girl scores her first goal and everyone is excited for her. That’s my favorite thing.

Q: Do you think that being a teacher will factor into your coaching style?
A: Teaching and coaching are very similar and complementary. Coaching has made me a better teacher and teaching makes me a better coach. There are many advantages to being both a coach and a teacher. I get to see the student-athletes in and out of the classroom and on and off the ice.