NUTLEY – New head coach Anthony Yelovich is excited to begin work at the helm of the Nutley High School ice hockey varsity team.
And if Yelovich can coach as well as he played, then the Raiders should be in good shape moving forward.
Yelovich, who grew up in nearby Clifton, said he started playing the sport at the age of 3.
“I started at Clary Anderson Arena in Montclair where our team has some practices,” he said. “I played four years at Clifton, achieving many accolades, including the scoring title my senior year with 99 points, and in addition, I picked up some recognition such as All-State, All-County, all-league, as well as two-time North Jersey Player of the Year,” he said.
After Clifton, the coach said he went on the play Prep school hockey at The Gunnery in Washington, Conn. where the school finished in the top 5 in all of New England Prep.
“I then played a year of junior hockey in Springfield, Mass., with the Springfield Falcons of what is now the USPHL where I received a scholarship to play D-1 Hockey for Sacred Heart University and finished my four years there with a double major in Finance and Economics,” said the coach, adding he was pursued to play professionally both in the United States and overseas, but chose the European route where he played in the Austrian EBEL league while living in Zagreb, Croatia.
Indeed, the coach knows the game and has a resume to show for it. For NHS, he is hoping he can take his own personal experiences to help grow the program here.
“We have high expectations. We want to win a state title and to build everyday by our team today being better than yesterday,” he said.
Individually, the coach said he expected his entire team to contribute with the hopes that this year’s senior class will provide the leadership.
“All of the players have impressed me and have to this point exceeded my expectations. We might have somewhat of a slow start because we are getting used to a new system and I have thrown a lot of complex plays at them, but once we get comfortable and hit our stride, we will be a very dangerous team,” he said. “We will rely heavily on our seniors for leadership and the execution of our game plan. Look for Joe Hoarle, Christian McCue, Zach Vaughan, Joe Fontanels, Dan Render and Greg O’Connell to set the tone.”
The Raiders will open the season Dec. 4 against Millburn at Codey Arena in West Orange at 6:45 p.m.
NHS schedule (games at Codey Arena, unless otherwise noted):
Dec. 4, Millburn, 6:45 p.m.
Dec. 5, Livingston, 7:45 p.m.
Dec. 12, Verona/Glen Ridge, 7:45 p.m.
Dec. 16, Montclair, at Clary Anderson Arena, Montclair, 7 p.m.
Dec. 19, Montclair Kimberley Academy, at Clary Anderson Arena, 7 p.m.
Dec. 21, West Essex, 6:15 p.m.
Dec. 26, Mountain Lakes, Essex County Holiday Classic, 1 p.m.
Dec. 27, Parsippany, Essex County Holiday Classic, 5 p.m.
Dec. 30, St. Joseph of Montvale, Essex County Holiday Classic, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 4, Montclair Kimberley Academy, 6:15 p.m.
Jan. 8, Millburn, 8:45 p.m.
Jan. 10, Verona/Glen Ridge, 5 p.m.
Jan. 15, Livingston, 6:45 p.m.
Jan. 18, Chatham, at Mennen Sports Arena, Morristown, 12:30 p.m.
Jan. 20, Red Bank Regional, 6:15 p.m.
Jan. 24, at Brick Memorial, 6:10 p.m.
Feb. 1, Mount Olive, 4:15 p.m.
Feb. 3, Montclair, 6:15 p.m.