PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State College has a new head ice hockey coach for the 1998-99 season, according to Panther athletic director Steve Bamford.
Bamford has announced the Sal Leale has resigned as head coach after two seasons at PSC to take the head coaching position at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Mass. Bamford named Mike Bonelli, who last season was an assistant hockey coach at PSC and Associate Manager of the Waterville Valley Ice Arena, as the new head coach.
"We're sorry to lose Sal to a full-time position at MCLA, but happy to be able to hire Mike," said Bamford. "He did a terrific job as Sal's assistant last year, and is a rising star on the hockey coaching horizon. Mike's hockey background is extensive, and given his positive attitude, people skills and work ethic, I am confident he'll be an exceptionally strong recruiter and ambassador of PSC Athletics."
A native of North Salem, NY, Bonelli is a 1993 graduate of New England College, where he played varsity hockey from 1991-93. He has been involved in coaching, ice arena management and hockey school operations most of this decade. His recent positions include assistant hockey coach at New York University and Director of Hockey Operations at Westchester Skating Academy before taking the PSC job last season. He worked this past summer as Director of Summer Hockey Operations at Montclair State University, and he was on the Coaching Education Staff for USA Hockey.
"This is a great opportunity for me, and I'm very excited to be here as head coach," said Bonelli. "I've known for a long time that I wanted to be a hockey coach, and to be the head coach at Plymouth State is the kind of job I've worked for for a long time. I'm anxious to get going."
Bonelli has been a member of the American Hockey Coaches Association since 1994. He received his Advanced level coaching certification from USA Hockey in 1996.
The Panthers posted a 23-23-2 record under Leale the past two seasons, and earned a berth in last season's ECAC North-Central-South Tournament. The North, Central, and South divisions have been combined for 1998-99 into the 18-team ECAC Northeast Division.
"I look forward to working with Mike in supporting our quest to be perennial contenders in the ECAC Northeast," added Bamford. "The transition should be a relatively smooth one since Mike is familiar with and has the respect of the returning players, and he was a key player in the recruiting of the freshmen coming into the program."
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