GCC alumn working to rebuild struggling hockey program
A former alum is trying to restore the glory in the once-successful hockey program at Greensburg Central Catholic.
Tony Marietta, in his second year as coach of the Greensburg Central Catholic hockey team, is trying to make strides in rebuilding the Centurions' hockey program.
Marietta, who was an assistant for his father, Butch, when the Centurions won one of three PIHL titles in the early 1990s, has great pride in representing the school and wants the glory to return.
“I feel a lot of pride, and I'm enjoying coaching for school,” Marietta said. “I enjoy the atmosphere here.”
The Centurions have hit a few rough patches on the ice in two years under Marietta. After dropping to the PIHL Class A level in recent years due to enrollment, the Greensburg Central Catholic program has only been able to muster a single win in 30 games.
Marietta doesn't look for excuses but the team has only been able to field a limited amount of players. Even though the team hasn't been able to crack the win column this year, Marietta is optimistic and has seen improvement.
“They have really improved with their game play,” said Marietta. “We are struggling with only eight or nine skaters, while other teams have around 12 skaters. We have much more talent and are playing much better strategy hockey.”
The Centurions entered the week with a 0-11 record after losing, 5-4, to South Fayette last Thursday.
They had managed just 16 goals, five coming from defenseman Nicholas Benjamin and another four from forward Nicholas Frank.
Their play and improvement in other areas has their coach expecting the hard work to pay off.
“Obviously, we want to capture a win,” Marietta said. “We want to see the goals-against average to go down along with playing tough in each game.”
Marietta has more of a long-term vision by laying the footprints of a successful program.
“It will just take some time,” he said. “We have a freshman team (which wasn't the case last season).
“Right now, we are pretty much one or two deep per class. It will take time to where we will be three or four deep in each class.”
The Centurions' coaching staff continues to urge the players to have fun and enjoy the game. Marietta tries to end practices with games of tug-of-war and football.
“We focus on improving each game and each player,” Marietta said. “We need to focus on the next game and not the last game and continue to teach.”
Marietta looks forward to what is coming down the pipeline for the Centurions.
Next season, Marietta expects six or more freshmen to step in and play on the varsity team. Combined with the growth of the freshman class, the Centurions will look for big things from the current junior class and up-and-coming freshman Joey Hanley.
Andrew John is a freelance writer.