|Behind the Bench: Frank DeMasi|
Welcome to a new segment on the website, the GMHL Coach Spotlight. This feature will highlight coaches in the GMHL, with them get their input on the league, their team, and their vision for the GMHL.Â
This edition of GMHL Coach Spotlight will focus on South Muskoka Shield long time Coach Frank DeMasi. DeMasi, widely regarded as one of the best in the league, is in his fifth GMHL season: "I have been coaching in the GMHL since 2012 when I began as an Assistant Coach for the Bracebridge Phantoms. I was promoted to Head Coach the following year with Bracebridge before moving to become Head Coach and General Manger of the South Muskoka Shield in 2014. My Assistant Coach Anthony Gambacorta and I have been fortunate enough to have strong teams to coach since the 2014/15 season as we have accumulated winning records and have enjoyed watching our players move on to higher levels of hockey which include NCAA, ACHA and professionally in North America and Europe."Â
DeMasi has firsthand experience with the advancement process having played NCAA Division 3 at Lake Forest College for four years, before advancing to hto professional hockey. Frank spent 10 seasons in US, German, Belgium, Italian, and United Kingdom based professional leagues.
DeMasi has had a unique opportunity to see the league develop and grow in his five years and he is happy about what he has seen so far: "I have had some wonderful experiences in this league and met some great people. This is my 5th year in the league and I can honestly say the skill level of players has improved each year. Along with individual skill levels from players, teams have improved a great deal and there is plenty of parity between teams this season. It is not uncommon for a team in 6th or 7th place to beat a team in 1st or 2nd. This is something that I haven't seen since my time here, until this year. It makes for great hockey and impresses upon the players around the league that there are no 'easy games' which in turn forces players to be ready to play their best and work hard. By doing this players improve their skills and habits which lead to them being recruited to higher leagues. Winning is important but helping our players around the league to advance their careers is paramount for the success of each organization and our league as a whole. Ken and Bob have plenty of experience in the hockey world and I am confident in their ability to continue to lead our league in a positive direction while fostering a safe, challenging and positive environment for all involved in our great league."
Throughout his career Frank has proven to be a winner behind the bench. His teams have finished the top 5 of the league standings every season. DeMasi said he was very excited about this season to come: "Our current season so far is going very well and we are very happy with the work ethic, attitude and talent of our group. As the season progresses I feel we will continue to improve because our players are learning each other's tendencies and strengths and weaknesses. I believe we have another level we can reach if we continue to play hard and play as a team."Â
Frank DeMasi is a class act and one of the best leaders on the bench of a GMHL team, he genuinely appreciates where he is , where he has been, and every opportunity that has been given him over his playing and coaching career: "I feel fortunate to be coaching the South Muskoka Shield and proud to say we are a member of the GMHL which continues to grow and improve every year. I am excited to see what the remainder of this year and future years hold for all of us involved, from players, coaches, referees, trainers, managers and volunteers the league has improved and strengthened with positive attitudes and support for each other."
Author: Jordan Richardson, Media Contributor
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