St. Louis Jr. Blues announce staff changes | North American Tier III Hockey League | NA3HL
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St. Louis Jr. Blues announce staff changes

March 29, 2023

Scott Sanderson (left) and Matt Ocello (right) are a part of the new staff of the St. Louis Jr. Blues.

The St. Louis Jr. Blues of the North American 3 Hockey League and based out of the Affton Ice Rink announced a new Hockey Operations team for the 2023-24 season. Scott Sanderson will serve as general manager and assistant coach of the team and former St. Louis Jr. Blues player Matt Ocello will serve as head coach. Head coach and general manager Brian McGlynn, who joined the team in 2021, stepped down at the end of the 2022-23 season.

Scott Sanderson, General Manager and Assistant Coach

Scott Sanderson has coached at various levels of youth hockey in St. Louis for more than 30 seasons. He began coaching in 1992-93 for the AAA St. Louis Blues. During his years with the AAA Blues program, Sanderson coached the U18 team, was coordinator for the U15, U16, and U18 Midget program, and served on the AAA Blues Hockey Board.

Over the past three seasons, Sanderson has been a head coach for the Affton Americans CSDHL Midget program at the U14 (2020-2021), U15 (2021-22) and U16 (2022-23) levels. During his tenure, his teams have twice earned a spot in the USA Hockey National Championships. For the 2023-24 season he will continue as coach of Affton Americans U18 Midget CSDHL team.

During his coaching career, Sanderson participated in USA Hockey Select Festivals in St. Cloud, Minnesota, serving as head coach and assistant coach for the Central District. Sanderson’s AAA Hockey teams won numerous league championships including the Tier One Elite Hockey League and the Michigan National Hockey League. His teams have been state and regional champions and represented St. Louis at USA Hockey Nationals four times. Many players from Sanderson’s AAA Midget program advanced to play in the USA National Development Team Program. Over his career, Sanderson coached six NHL players, more than 25 minor league players, 57 NCAA Division I players, 22 NCAA Division III players, and many ACHA players. From his AAA U18 team, many of Sanderson’s players continued their playing careers at the Jr. A level in North America including 78 NAHL players and 51 USHL players.

As a youth player, Sanderson was a defenseman for the Cahokia, Illinois Hockey Club. He attended Christian Brothers College High School and captured the Mid-States Club Hockey Association Championship in 1987 and 1988 with a 56-0 record over two seasons. After graduation, Sanderson played junior hockey in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers and the Waterloo Blackhawks and in the North American Hockey League with the Indianapolis Jr. Ice. Sanderson played NCAA Division I hockey at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Sanderson was inducted to the St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018 as a coach.

Of his new position with the Jr. Blues Sanderson says, “I am excited to be involved with such a historic program. We are looking forward to creating an environment to help these young men reach their potential and achieve their goals.”

Matt Ocello, Head Coach

Matt Ocello has been coaching at various levels of youth hockey in St. Louis for more than 30 seasons. For the 2022-23 season, Ocello was head coach of the St. Louis Eagles U11 CSDHL team and was a part-time assistant coach with the St. Louis Jr. Blues. He also assisted Scott Sanderson with Affton Americans Midget CSDHL teams at the U14, U15, and U16 levels over the past three seasons. In the 2019-20 season, Ocello won a state championship as head coach of the AAA Blues U18 team. In 2018-19 he coached with the AAA Blues U14 team and won the Tier 1 Elite League Championship, Missouri State Championship, and earned a spot at the USA Hockey National Championships.

Ocello was a head coach with the Affton Americans Midget program at both the U18 and U14 levels from 2007-2016. Ocello’s Affton Americans U14 CSDHL team earned a second-place finish at USA Hockey National Championships in 2011 and captured the National Championship in 2012 and 2013. In 2016, Ocello lead the Affton Americans U18 CSDHL team to a third-place finish at USA Hockey National Championships. Ocello earned numerous league championships during his tenure with Affton Americans CSDHL program. He also served as head coach of the U18 AIC Prospects team in 2016 and 2017. Ocello coached with the St. Louis AAA Blues and Chesterfield Falcons from 1993-2007 at the U12, U14, and U18 levels. He coached at various goalie camps from 1989-2000 including his own camp, the St. Louis Goaltending Academy and continues to work with goalies on his teams. Over his three decades of coaching, Ocello assisted dozens of players advancing to higher levels of hockey including the ACHA, NAHL, USHL, NCAA Division III, NCAA Division I and professional hockey.

As a youth, Ocello was a goaltender playing with the Affton Americans Hockey Club from 1973 to 1984 and was a member of the St. Louis Jr. Blues/Affton Americans Jr. teams from 1985-1988. Ocello was a member of the 1988 St. Louis Jr. Blues NAJHL Gold Cup Championship team. He attended Christian Brothers College High School and captured the Mid-States Club Hockey Association Championships in 1987 and 1988 with a 56-0 record over two seasons. After graduating, he played junior hockey in the USHL with the North Iowa Huskies. In 1989, Ocello captured the USA Hockey National Jr. A Championship with the Huskies. Then in 1990, played with the Indianapolis Jr. Ice of the North American Hockey League and was among the league leaders in GAA and save percentage. Ocello played minor professional hockey briefly in the CHL, CoHL and the AHA.

Of this opportunity, Ocello says, “It is a great honor to be named Head Coach of the St. Louis Jr. Blues. As a player during the inaugural season of the team, I have a high level of personal pride in the program. Watching players over the last three decades advance to higher levels of the game has been impressive. The Jr. Blues program was a catalyst for me advancing as a player in my hockey career and I look forward to assisting the players in our program achieve their goals.”

“I look forward to carrying on the legacy that many former players, coaches, and general managers have built over the 35 years of the program. It is an historic program with a lot of success on the ice. Because of that, there have been many players over the decades moving on to collegiate hockey, minor pro teams, and even the NHL,” he added.

Staff Additions and Recruitment

Sanderson and Ocello are working to finalize additional Hockey Operations staff, including adding another Assistant Coach, Strength & Conditioning Coach, as well as building the scouting staff. Over the coming weeks, the Jr. Blues staff will focus on player recruitment at the NAHL Combine and the NAPHL Top Prospects Tournament in St. Louis from March 24-26. In April, staff will attend the NAHL Combine in Columbus, Ohio and the America’s Showcase (High School) in St. Louis. Announcements about staff additions and recruitment events will be posted on and on team social media channels.

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