Darien's Jamie Tropsa Super 10 girls hockey Coach of the Year
Published 7:42 pm, Tuesday, April 14, 2015
It's taken just three years, but Jamie Tropsa has a budding dynasty with the Darien girls hockey team. Three straight FCIAC championships behind a host of talented players, Tropsa is the Hearst Connecticut Media Group girls hockey Coach of the Year.
Hockey has been in the life of Tropsa from a very young age. Growing up in the local youth system, Tropsa played for Stamford High and Suffolk University. Tropsa served as a Darien assistant for Al Gurney for three years before taking the top post in 2012.
Working the with youth program in town, Tropsa knew of the talent about to make an impact on the high school level. Aside from Darien, Tropsa coaches a number of teams, including the Connecticut Ice Cats U-14 team.
"Right now we're keeping our better athletes involved (in the program), whereas five years ago they might not have been," Tropsa said. "We have a core group of kids that stuck with it and that's why we've done so well."
Led by All-State standouts Georgia Cassidy and Chandler Kirby, Darien went 19-4 this season. The Blue Wave defeated Ridgefield 3-1 for their third straight FCIAC championship, and reached state semifinals, where they lost 2-1 to Simsbury.
Darien is still searching for its first state title since 2009.
"You always want to go a little further," Tropsa said. "The last couple of years have been tough on us. We've won the FCIACs, but we want that state title. This year we came up short; maybe that'll motivate us."
Sammy Nielsen and Amanda Sload were named first team All-FCIAC in addition to Cassidy and Kirby. In total, the Blue Wave have produced 16 first-team All-FCIAC players in the last four seasons.
In addition to his talented roster, Tropsa also credits assistants Gray Weicker and Allie Zukunft to the rise of the program.
"We had a good combination of talent and a bunch of kids that want to work really hard," Tropsa said. "As far as coaching side, owe have a good camaraderie amongst ourselves. We preach it's a team effort as coaches and players."
He also runs Blueline Hockey Academy, a school in town designed to teach the game to young athletes. Tropsa has worked for the organization since he was a junior at Stamford.
"We've had the school for a long time," Tropsa said. "We want to promote hockey and try to get kids involved; definitely the foundation of hockey is getting the kids involved at an early age."