BY Kenneth Ekert
On Nov. 9, C.J. Marottolo won his 100th career game as the head coach of the Sacred Heart University men’s ice hockey team. The team defeated the United States Military Academy (USMA) in West Point, N.Y., 4-2.
“Winning 100 games has a lot more to do with all the players who took pride in playing for Sacred Heart than me,” said Marottolo. “I appreciate all of my players’ efforts and sacrifices that they’ve made throughout my years here.”
Marottolo is in his 10th year as head coach of the team, but his career in college ice hockey dates back to the 1980s, when he played at Northeastern University from 1985 to 1989.
According to elitepropsects.org, a website that provides stats on hockey players and teams, Marottolo continued his playing career in France after graduating college. He served as a player-coach for the Hockey Club Metz and also coached at the Euro-Sport/Drummond Hockey School in Amenville.
He then accepted an assistant coaching position for the men’s ice hockey team at Trinity College in Hartford in 1992.
After two years at Trinity, Marottolo began a 15-year tenure as an assistant and associate head coach of the men’s ice hockey team at Yale University beginning in 1994. According to Sacred Heart athletics, Marottolo helped guide the team to two NCAA Tournaments in 1998 and 2009.
After the 2009 Tournament berth, Marottolo accepted the head coach position for the men’s ice hockey team at Sacred Heart and has remained with the team since.
“I have absolutely loved my time here at Sacred Heart,” said Marottolo. “I have had the opportunity to coach terrific young men and work with passionate people.”
In his first year at Sacred Heart, Marottolo led the team to a 21-13-4 record, and a second place finish in the Atlantic Hockey League. According to Sacred Heart athletics, it was the most wins in the program’s history and Marottolo was named Atlantic Hockey Coach of the Year for 2010.
Since then, Marottolo has led Sacred Heart to three Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals in 2011, 2015 and 2018.
Senior co-captain Liam Clare believes that Marottolo has the ability to combine the technical and emotional sides of hockey together in order to get the best out of his players.
“Coach C.J. offers advice for things to improve your game on the ice and always lends an ear or a helping hand if a player is going through something personally,” said Clare.
Freshman Ryan Steele has also noticed the same characteristics in Marottolo.
“He [Marottolo] not only instills the value of hard work in his players, but he also emphasizes intensity and execution in both practices and games,” said Steele. “Reaching 100 wins as a college hockey coach is incredibly difficult, and I’m glad I was able to help C.J. reach that milestone.”
Clare said that Marottolo’s accomplishment is a testament to his commitment to the program, and how he’s always loking for ways to improve the team each year. He’s also determined to add bring some hardware to Sacred Heart.
“Coach C.J. wants an Atlantic Hockey Title,” said Clare.
Marottolo has been stuck at 100 wins since Nov. 9, as the team has gone 0-4-1 in their last five games. They are 2-7-2 overall and 2-5-1 in conference play. They have a two-game homestand against Robert Morris at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1.