St. Joseph boys hockey coach Marty Crouse, who started the Cadets hockey program in 2003, has been thinking about retiring from the position the past three years.
On Tuesday, he made it official.
“I thought about it for a few years and now I think it’s the right time,” Crouse said. “I’ve been around hockey all my life and now I Can just sit back and enjoy it and be the Monday morning quarterback.”
Crouse, a West Haven native, steps down with mixed emotions. He also never kept track of his coaching record.
“Coaching has been rewarding, it has been great to watch kids work hard and succeed and try to be the best they can be,” Crouse said. “But these days it’s also frustrating when there are so many other options out there.
“Losing kids to prep schools or junior hockey is frustrating because the parents and the kids don’t see what they have right in front of them. Parents have this illusion if they hand out all that money to get to prep school or juniors they’ll be rewarded with college scholarships.”
During his coaching tenure Crouse accomplished a feat that will be tough to match. He is the only one to coach a Connecticut high school boys hockey team that appeared in three different CIAC Division finals three years in a row.
The Cadets won the CIAC Division III title in 2009 with a 3-2 double overtime win over Staples/Weston. St. Joseph advanced to the CIAC Division II championship in 2010 and lost 7-5 to Amity and in 2011 the Cadets advanced to the CIAC Division I final and lost 5-0 to Fairfield Prep.
That period of time that is the most memorable for Crouse. In addition to reaching the finals those three seasons he also coached his son Connor Crouse those three seasons. The Cadets had depth and talent that included forwards Connor Crouse of West Haven and Pat Corcoran of Milford, defenseman Kevin Robitaille and goalie Zach Carrano.
Crouse’s goal when he started the program was to eventually reach Division I and be competitive at that level. The Cadets first competed on the Division I level during the 2010-11 season.
“This year was one of our least successful seasons (7-14-1) and we probably should have done better,” said Crouse, who has no desire to coach again. “But overall I am so proud of all the kids that came through the program and helped us evolve from being God-awful to very competitive.
“The ultimate goal was to get to (Yale’s) Ingalls Rink and play for a Division championship. That is something you never forget.”
Crouse is a 1978 graduate of West Haven High. He played hockey at West Haven for his father, the late and legendary West Haven coach Art Crouse.