Lafayette, La.–The search for the Louisiana IceGators’ new head coach is over.
Drew Omicioli is taking the reins of the IceGators squad as they head into the 2014-2015 season. He succeeds Kevin Kaminski, who led the IceGators for the past three-and-a-half seasons.
Omicioli comes to Louisiana from Providence, Rhode Island, where he was the head coach and general manager of the Elite Division of the United States Premier Hockey League. Prior to that, Omicioli coached the USA Hockey Select 17 Camp and was an assistant coach for Brown University’s hockey team.
As a player, Omicioli competed in juniors with the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League. He then spent four years playing college hockey at Providence College, helping the team to two Hockey East Final Fours and one appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament.
Professionally, Omicioli played one season in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins before going on to spend four years in Europe playing in Italy’s A-League.
“We were looking to get a coach in here who has some great recruiting ability,” said IceGators General Manager Louis Dumont. “He has former teammates who are now in positions where they coach university and junior hockey, and that’s a great resource for us to recruit players. That’s half of the job of a coach in the SPHL.
“He has seen the North American game and the European game, so he has a wealth of knowledge. He’s also a young guy who’s hungry and wants to come in here and coach.”
Omicioli also has a family connection to the IceGators. His older brother, Mike, played in Lafayette during the IceGators’ final ECHL season (2004-05) and during their first SPHL campaign (2009-10).
Although Omicioli has started his new job relatively late in the offseason, Dumont says he has already hit the ground running.
“He’s had a chance to see the team when visiting his brother during the holidays last year,” Dumont said. “He’s taken in some SPHL games, so I think he really got some good time in seeing the actual game. Some coaches don’t have that luxury. Several guys from last year’s team are back, and we’ve talked about how we can improve upon their performance from last season.”
Dumont also noted that history is on the side of first-time professional head coaches in the SPHL.
“You’ve had several coaches in this league who have been successful going right from the ice to becoming a head coach in the SPHL,” Dumont said.
Omicioli is excited to have the opportunity to work with such a great organization and community in Lafayette. “Having lived here in the past, during the summers of my playing years, I was able to really appreciate the town and the people,” stated Omicioli. “I would like to thank the organization and Louis for the opportunity. Their belief in me to come in and bring my knowledge and connections to help build the best possible team and give us the opportunity to win the President’s Cup.”
Omicioli and the IceGators will open their regular season on October 24 when they travel to North Carolina to take on the Fayetteville FireAntz in a two-game weekend series. The team will play its home opener on November 2 against the Peoria Rivermen.