Valley Jr. Warriors U18 Head Coach Andrew Andricopoulos is no stranger to the game of hockey. At just 16 years old he moved to Quebec City to play for the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League where he spent four years.
It was hockey legend Patrick Roy who spotted Andricopoulos and offered him a spot to play on the team. After his time with the Remparts he participated in two NHL training camps with the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks.
From there he went to the American Hockey League where he ended up playing two games in Worcester then moved down once more to the East Coast Hockey League where he stuck for about two seasons in Phoenix and South Carolina. “I’m lucky my hockey career kind of took me all over North America, I got to see a lot of cool things,” said Andricopoulos.
Andricopoulos now serves as the Valley Jr. Warriors U18 split season head coach and assistant coach of Brooks School. After his playing career he transitioned into banking for a number of years but realized wealth management wasn’t as fulfilling as he hoped. He later reached out to his old defensive coach and current Valley Jr. Warrior Program director Steve MacAdams about getting involved with the Warriors.
When asked about his coaching philosophy Andricopoulos stressed the idea of accountability combined with keeping the element of fun in the game.
“I believe in accountability so I believe in having fun, but also holding my players accountable. They’re at that age where they’re very receptive to what I’m teaching them, they can actually implement it. I kind of am a new age where I can be a disciplinarian but also a friend, I don’t really believe that there needs to be that wall,” said Andricopoulos.
Coming onto his second season as head coach of the Warriors U18 squad, Andricopoulos has set some goals for himself and his players.
“A big goal for myself this year is as I’m kind of progressing in my coaching career is to get some of these guys committed here to where they want to be. We’re trying to develop these players, get them ready for their winter seasons of course but we’re trying to develop and get them to where they want to go and help them achieve their goals. My personal goal is to help them reach their personal goals,” Andricopoulos said.
In addition to accountability Andricopoulos also stressed the importance of the mental side of the game. “One thing that is a resounding issue with all of these players is they completely forget about the mental aspect of the game. Hockey is an education, I’m an educator, I coach but at the same time it’s not all physical. At the next level in division I and even at the NHL level, a lot of times it’s not necessarily faster it’s smarter so these kids really need to understand the mental side of the game.”
Andricopoulos enjoyed a lengthy hockey career that took him all across North America. As he has transitioned from player to coach he reflected on the impact playing had on who he is as a person.
“After my professional career ended I actually went back to college and played Division I in Canada for a few years (Saint Thomas University in New Brunswick) my junior and senior year of school, if my schedule permitted I was at practice probably two hours before. That’s the culture hockey has created for me. I think in this day and age kids don’t really take advantage of it as much as they should. We used to call it carpet talk, we’d get ready for practice and just talk about life. There’s a void that will never be filled again and I think there’s a lot of hockey players that would understand that.”