DARIEN — Darien girls hockey coach Jamie Tropsa has made his rounds in the coaching world.

After starting at Darien High School as a boys coach before heading to Iona College and then New Canaan before circling back to Darien behind the girls bench, Tropsa has seen and accomplished plenty.

However, this winter was something special, and it all culminated with being named the the Hearst Connecticut Media Girls Ice Hockey Coach of the Year.

“It feels great,” Tropsa said of being honored. “Obviously when you have a team like we did this year it’s very special to get the recognition both as a team and all of us as individuals is a great honor.”

The 2015-16 Blue Wave, led by Tropsa and Hearst Connecticut Media MVP Georgia Cassidy, won both the FCIAC and state titles and only lost once during their historic season, finishing 23-1.

Tropsa attributed much of his team’s success to continuity, as he has known and coached many of his players since they were 10-years old.

“I started coaching them in youth hockey and I got to get to know them almost like children,” Tropsa said. “When you see them grow up and develop into what they have developed into it’s such a great feeling to be around these kids and it’s such an honor to have coached them.”

Tropsa is an important cog in what has become a machine of championship-producing teams at Darien High School. Just in this season Darien won conference and/or state titles in field hockey and football and swept boys and girls hockey.

“If you really look at what Darien’s done in both boys and girls sports it’s truly amazing, just in the last five years it’s unbelievable,” Tropsa said. “We’re really blessed with parents that want to put the time and money into making their kids into competitive athletes and then we have the kids that want to buy into that.”

Another venture that Tropsa has a large hand in is the growth of girls hockey in the state. Not currently recognized by the CIAC, the sport is both growing in some ways, especially in the FCIAC, and stagnant in others — namely upstate teams or schools lacking interest that have to combine with other programs to stay afloat.

While 2016 was in many ways a competitive and successful year for girls hockey Tropsa hopes others will follow the blueprint of schools such as Darien which requires a lot of time and patience.

“We’re just experiencing the fruit of our labors from years ago,” Tropsa said. “I just hope more communities in Connecticut will put the time and effort into getting more kids playing.”

aparelli@ctpost.com