Fleurie takes over BBA hockey

MANCHESTER - Players and fans alike will see a familiar face in the box - albeit in a different position - when the Burr and Burton Academy boys hockey team takes the ice this year.

Kevin Fleurie - who was the assistant coach last season -will replace Joseph Ferrara as the head coach. Ferrara resigned after one season as the team's coach because he no longer had the time required to fill the position.

While several people applied for the job BBA Athletic Director Kathi Bierwirth said the school felt Fleurie was the right person to lead the team.

"We felt with his credentials, based on the other applicants we had, that he was one of the strongest ones we had so we felt comfortable going forward with him as the head coach of the program," Bierwirth said. "We're excited that Kevin has decided to apply for the position because we felt that he knew the program well, he knew the returning kids, [and] he had a really good sense of what Burr and Burton looks for in its programs and where we are with athletics. We really feel good that he's someone that's here for the long haul."

Fleurie and his wife - who grew up in the area - moved back to Vermont from Newburyport, Mass. Fleurie had played hockey growing up and had coached baseball in the past, but his return to coaching last year came after a sabatical.

"I've been involved with hockey my entire life. I definitely knew the game well. I think the biggest and most interesting dynamic was you just have to learn the kids," said Fleurie. "With young guys a lot of their attitudes, and the attitudes they bring to practice and the attitudes they bring to games, stems from what's going on in school and what's going on in the community. So, getting to understand that aspect of sports snd that aspect of hockey in particular was pretty interesting."

The team finished 4-16 last season during a rebuilding year that saw the loss of seven seniors from the 2012-2013 team - many of whom were significant contributors - that made it to the finals. Last year's team fell one victory shy of going to the playoffs, but Fleurie believes their record will improve this coming season.

"I think it's important to understand and make these guys understand that we're there to win. Last year was in fact a building year. We've got a couple of individuals coming in that are only going to make us even stronger," said Fleurie. "They're also going to push the other guys that were there [and] got a little bit comfortable in their positions to become a little bit better and work a little bit harder. So, I'm fully expecting to take a run at the state championship this year and take a run and go deep into the playoffs."

One of the keys to the team's success in the coming year, Fleurie said will be senior Andy Ishu who has played for four years. Fleurie also said that he expects a greater comfort level from younger players such as Maxx Ingison and Jack Ams now that they have been playing with Ishu for a year.

"I think that there is going to be a much better comfort level and a much better comraderie around the team and Andy's definitely key to leading all of that," said Fleurie.

While Ishu is one of the players that Fleurie expects to be instrumental in the team's ability to win games, he also said there are several other things that will play a crucial role in their success.

"I think building the confidence in the program, building the confidence in the coaching and building the confidence in the direction of where these guys want to go to be a winning program is [the] number one key to what we do this year," Fleurie said. "I think we've got to start early and stay on these guys often to [let them] know that [they] can play with anybody."

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