In this week’s installment of 10 Questions With…, Southern Connecticut State University men’s hockey captain Joe Innamorato (West Haven, CT) stops by to talk hockey. The Ice Owls finished the 2011-2012 regular season with an 18-1-0 record, capturing the Empire Collegiate Hockey Conference Championship and earning a spot in the the ACHA D3 National Tournament.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: The Southern Connecticut State University men’s ice hockey team had a great season in 2011-2012, finishing with an 18-1 record in the regular season. What do you attribute the success of the team this year to?
JOE INNAMORATO: I would attribute our success to the hard work and commitment put forth by my teammates this year. We were always looking to get better with every practice and every game. Also, the location of our university allows us to draw from some very talented hockey players from around the area of Southern Connecticut. As a result, we had a very talented group of forwards, a solid core of defensemen, and two tremendous goaltenders.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: During an average week, what kind of time commitment is expected from members of the men’s hockey team at Southern – in terms of practices, games and other team events?
JOE INNAMORATO: We usually have either two or three practices a week, for an hour and a half apiece, and either one or two games on the weekends. The season starts around the second week of the first semester, and does not finish until about the 3rd week of March.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: For you, what is the best part about being a playing for the Southern Connecticut State University men’s hockey team?
JOE INNAMORATO: The best part about being a hockey player at Southern is definitely the camaraderie with the boys. Being a part of the team allows you to have a group of great friends that you can rely on at any time, for anything, hockey related or not.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Who were some of the top players you faced this year?
JOE INNAMORATO: Some of the top players we faced this year came from Michigan and Central Florida, including the countless amounts of ACHA players who transferred into schools from NCAA division 1 or 3 programs, but the best player that I have seen all year has been Steven Rosenkrantz, who also happens to play for our team. He is by far the most talented player that I have seen in the ACHA league thus far.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: How did you start playing hockey?
JOE INNAMORATO: I started playing hockey at Bennett Rink in West Haven when I was around 5 years old. I originally started playing because my older brothers got me interested in the sport at a young age, and once I started skating and playing West Haven youth hockey, I fell in love with it.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Who has had the biggest influence on your hockey career to date and why?
JOE INNAMORATO: The biggest influence on my hockey career has been my family. My parents, both my mother and father, have given up countless weekends and hours and weeknights and mornings and pretty much everything just so they can help my brothers and I do something that we loved. As I’m sure many people know, hockey is a full-time commitment, for both players and parents, so I owe a lot to them for all they have done for me. In addition, I grew up watching my older brothers play hockey, and they had a huge impact on how much I enjoyed playing the sport.
Another huge influence on my hockey career was my high school coach, Joe Morrell (West Haven High School). I have never seen, since or before, any person be so committed to developing his players on and off the ice. He was a person that I always looked up to and aspired to be like, because in my mind, he was the kind of coach, teacher, mentor, and family man that every person admired and respected.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Is there a professional player you pattern your style after?
JOE INNAMORATO: Although not even close to as good, I always try to pattern my style of play, and leadership for that matter, after Ryan Callahan. Long before he was captain of my favorite team, I respected and admired the type of grind-it-out, go hard all the time hockey that he plays night and night out. There is absolutely no quit in him, and he is a tremendous penalty killer who never backs down from blocking a shot. He is an all-around great player, and I would like to think that I have a few similar characteristics.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
JOE INNAMORATO: I do have one pregame ritual, not for superstitious reasons, but just because, I don’t know, I guess I like doing them. I’m the first one out of the locker room, and I always stand by the ice door and tap gloves with everyone on the way out. Towards the end of the line to get on the ice, there are a few guys that I have a personal handshake with that we do unfailingly every game right before they step on the ice. I am always the last one to step on the ice, though.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: With several players slated to return for 2012-2013, how does the SCSU team look for next year?
JOE INNAMORATO: The team is going to be very solid once again next year, we are losing two or three forwards, and two or three defensemen, but we should be able to once again make a deep run into the National Tournament and be one of the front runners to contend for the Championship.
NUTMEG HOCKEY: If a current or incoming Southern student wants to try out for the hockey team, who do they need to get in touch with?
JOE INNAMORATO: If any students have any questions at all regarding the school or team, about visiting the campus, or anything else, they can feel free to tweet us @SCSU_Hockey, e-mail me personally at email@example.com, message us on our facebook group, SCSU Hockey 2011-2012.
Thanks, Joe. Best of luck to you and the Ice Owls next season.
|THE INNAMORATO FILE|
TEAM: Southern Connecticut State University
STATS: 9g, 7a, 16pts
Captain of 2012 Empire Collegiate Hockey Conference Champions
2012 ACHA M3 Atlantic Regional, 2nd Team
2012 ACHA M3 Academic All-American team