The Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins are adding to their organization with much more than new head coach Brian Cersosimo.
While Cersosimo is certainly a key cog for the Jr. Penguins moving forward, the entire organization is being upgraded with a revamped scouting staff, player placement staff, the addition of U18 AAA and U16 AAA programs to feed the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) team and in-season seminars to all Jr. Penguins program players.
“The importance of each aspect is that it will show not only our local AAA organizations, but other levels around the United States that we are serious about bringing top quality student-athletes into our program to develop further and get them to their ultimate goal,” explained Cersosimo. “We are looking for first-rate people that we know are serious about their futures and have a respect of the game. With the creation of our own AAA programs, it only further shows our commitment to the student-athlete to give them a home for a few years to develop and get the maximum out of their potential on the ice and in the classroom.
“We will also be scouting recruits during the season, working on placing players into higher level leagues and colleges that best suits them and conducting several seminars to help the student-athlete get educated on the process of moving up the hockey ladder.”
Cersosimo has been involved in the Jr. Penguins organization for over 10 years, with a slight hiatus for a year or so, and has held several different on- and off-ice responsibilities over the years.
“Becoming the Junior A head coach and Director of Tier I Hockey was just a natural progression in the growth of the program,” added Cersosimo, who has been coaching over 20 years at various levels. “I enjoy juniors the most as you can have such a positive influence on helping young men decide their futures and become productive members of society and their communities.”
As for his coaching style, Cersosimo couldn’t exactly put his finger on any solid description.
“I’m really not sure I have a certain style,” Cersosimo said. “It is discipline based that is adapted to the type of team the staff has put together. It changes from year to year depending on the makeup of the team, but we want our players to grow as individuals in a team environment.”
Cersosimo also sees the NA3HL as positive environment to groom next season’s Pittsburgh squad. He also likes the makeup of the league overall.
“The NA3HL is very well organized from the front office to the structure of the league and the organizations,” observed Cersosimo. “The communication between the organizations that allows for growth is tremendous. Being a member of the NAHL family, especially at the Tier III Junior A level where each player is a small step away from a call to the NAHL, especially during the season, is a huge benefit for both leagues.”
The NA3HL draft is on tap for May 31 and like all NA3HL teams, the Jr. Penguins are busy preparing for the annual event.
“The first item we look for is quality individuals that we feel can develop in our program,” Cersosimo explained. “We understand that we are a stepping stone to the next level and that players we want are serious about developing. The scouting staff and coaches work together on the draft to find out the best players available that will fit into our program. Lots of names appear on and off of the draft board over the weeks leading up to the draft, until we finally decide the route we want to go with position wise.”
Whichever way the draft unfolds for Pittsburgh, expect big things in the Steel City next season as optimism is peaking going into the summer months.