My tangible timeline:

 

2011-2013 - Still a full time student at Salem State University, I had coached a U12 Girl's team along with assisting the Boy's program at Burlington High School under Bob Conceison. I played for Coach C, graduating in 2009. I was also working as a Strength & Conditioning Coach under Pat Gigante at XP. That is what really changed my life. I still consider Pat as my mentor. The education I received from him regarding the human body, movement & mindset, was the foundation of my career. But more than that, Pat taught me how to think for myself. He would provide me with A, but not B & C. I'd have to get there myself, sometimes on the spot. 

 

2014: I completed my Bachelor's degree in Sport & Movement Science that summer & accepted a position as an assistant coach for the Boy's Varsity Team, under Dave Ries, at The Brooks School in North Andover MA. I was also working at Zwicker's, a skate shop, where I gathered so much insight that has been instrumental in steering my thought process. The same way Pat ignited my drive to learn movement, Wayne & Stacy opened my eyes to the subtle detail of skates, sticks, hollow, radius & everything in between. Wayne is still the only person allowed to sharpen my skates. 

2014-2016: I spent 2 seasons as an assistant at Brooks, while growing PRS Hockey. My first season we won the NEPSAC Large School Championship, which was just a phenomenal experience & in those 2 years I met so many people & gained another important mentor in Dave Ries, who I still keep in touch with & talk hockey whenever we can. 

2016-2018: I left Brooks for an opportunity to be a head coach of another ISL member school, Buckingham Brown & Nichols (BB&N). I was 25 when I accepted the position. To be honest, I didn't think to put my name in for something like that, as I was young in age & looked even younger. But someone who I had a prior relationship with, that had a kid go through the school, tossed me in the ring (he asked permission first). The interview process was maybe one of the most valuable experiences I've had, as I had never gone through something that extensive. I ended up receiving an on campus interview, as a finalist. When I walked into the Athletic Offices, the administration thought I was a student touring the school. I remember sitting in the AD's office, while 9 different people took turns speaking with me. I was in that room for 6 hours or so before wrapping up with CP, who was the AD at the time. My dress shirt was drenched in sweat, it was mid May. So I'm walking to my car, ripping off my tie, shaking my legs out and take out my phone. I called my Mom as I was still walking & she of course asked how it went. I said "Mom, I'm getting that job. They didn't say that or offer it & I can't explain what I mean but I know I'm going to get the offer." All of the sudden I went from random kid out of college grinding it out to being in charge of an ISL program. I learned so much in those 2 years. About myself, about the world, about everything. I moved to an apartment closer to Cambridge & began a chapter, that takes much longer to read than what a 2 year chapter usually does. There were so many layers to that position & I was also involved with other projects at the same time. Maybe the most complicated & stressful span of my life, but an important one in the search to learn about myself.  

2018-2019: I stepped down from BB&N in the spring of 2018. It was tremendously difficult to do so after just 2 seasons, but everyone was extremely respectful & understanding about it. I abide by a 85% 15% rule. Nothing is going to fit like a glove, but once you start having to make two many sacrifices to force a fit, you end up losing yourself. Something I'll never do. I was then 27 & felt like I had been in charge too soon, in too many settings. That is why I chose to take a role on the staff at Providence College, under Nate Leaman, Ron Rolston & Kris Mayotte. Now that was a year that could be a book in itself. We played all the way to April, losing in the Frozen Four to eventual repeat National Champion, Minnesota Duluth (UMD). September through April, for me, was a life time. I don't know if I ever have gotten more out of an experience, while also contributing at a high level, helping the program top team records & individual bests. The thing is, it was a HARD year. But I chose Providence because I knew it would be with those guys. The strongest take away for me was the fact that what I offer & my untraditional style, grew on the staff as the year went on opposed to being tuned out. That was important for me, I want to be someone that grows on you the more we are together, not the reverse. It gave me the final piece of courage I needed, to never compromise my thoughts or bow down out of hierarchy. I'd challenge them, they'd challenge me, certain things I changed my outlook on & vice versa. That's the definition of a team. The ability to really challenge & knit pick each other, knowing that at the end of the day we would all roll around in traffic for.

2019-Present (To be continued)

This video is now a few years old. Our approach is always being refined. We are always evolving & adapting our methods but our core values remain. I look a little older now (hopefully) & as is life, much has changed. For instance, I am upset at myself that there are a couple tires on the ice for a part of this video. When will there ever be a tire on the ice in game? But, like a player's development, that is part of the process. I hope in a few years I look back & laugh at something we are doing now. The name really sums up our process. Put it into practice. Reflect on it's impact & efficiency. Then simplify & streamline. It's subtraction, not addition. 

Peter Russo

Practice Reflect Simplify