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CHSHL Coach of the Year

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Internal pressure from not winning a championship in the five-year history of the Molloy hockey team and the external pressure from trying to compete with the rich championship history of almost every sport —...

Richie Rodgers was feeling the pressure.

Internal pressure from not winning a championship in the five-year history of the Molloy hockey team and the external pressure from trying to compete with the rich championship history of almost every sport — especially baseball and basketball — at the Briarwood school.

“There’s an atmosphere that permeates through the hallways that whatever team the school puts out is expected to be good,” Rodgers said. “You see all the trophies, you hear the history and you see the games.”

On March 13 Rodgers finally joined the ranks of the school’s other championship-winning coaches, including legends Jack Curran and Andy Kostel, as the Molloy hockey team beat rival Holy Cross, 8-4, to win the CHSHL Class B championship.

“It was nice to win the first championship, and God willing we’ll win a few more,” Rodgers said after the game. “If we didn’t win it this year I would have been really depressed.”

Rodgers received support from both Curran and Kostel, who attended games of the championship series, as well as a large contingent from the school’s baseball team and members of the girls’ basketball team.

“Out of all the years, this was the best support we’ve had in six years,” Rodgers said. “There’s a great camaraderie among the athletes in the hallway after school.”

Rodgers fell in love with the sport as a Hockey Dad, driving his son from rink to rink, from practices to tournaments. When Rodgers received word that Molloy was going to add hockey to its successful athletic program, he immediately expressed interest to head up the program.

Jim Sheldon, a fellow teacher at Molloy, joined Rodgers and the two have been together ever since, suffering through several seasons of playoff disappointment before finally achieving the ultimate goal last month.

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