Immaculate will return to an independent ice hockey program for the 2019-20 season, the school announced in a press release.
Brian Lugo will serve as coach of the Division I Mustangs, who will practice and play at the Danbury Ice Arena. The team played as a co-op for several years with New Fairfield and were moved from a Division III to a Division I classification after compiling a 13-5-3 record two years ago.
Lugo has coached from mite level hockey through the junior level. When he was the coach for J.W. Mitchell High School in Port Richey, Florida, the team won the state championships two out of three years, and the team also went on to win a national and now has many players currently playing D1 and D3 college hockey with one player drafted into the NHL. Also, in 2013 his U16 travel team won Nationals, and he coached the first Midget team in Florida to ever win Nationals.
Back up in the Northeast, Lugo coached for the Yale Youth team in 2018 and his U12 team won States while his U14 team won States and then went on to win New England Regionals.
“The co-op team was a great experience and allowed student-athletes to play on a high school team, and we are grateful for all that New Fairfield High School athletics and players contributed to the team and its high level of play,” Lugo said in the release. “The goal now is to build the chemistry in one school and one place the players can call home and find the perfect balance between academics and athletics. Being an independent team allows the players the opportunity to better compete for State titles.”
Lugo said in a release his goal for the first year is to teach the new systems and style of hockey the team will be playing.
“Immaculate High School has a great reputation for academics; my goal is to bring and build up a program the school can be proud of,” Lugo said in the release. “Will always beats skill, unless skill works with will.’ I want to build a program that supports the school as well as have huge community involvement, including among alumni. We want the community to see what the players are doing, and come out and support a program the city, as well as parents and alumni, can be proud of and see the legacy continue.”
Lugo pointed out that the team already has some great assets in place, including a “fantastic” locker room, an equipment repair and sharpening center and a nutrition area, and an arena that will be refurbished under new management.
“We will train harder than ever before, and we take players that want to succeed and put them in a system that gives them the opportunity to succeed, and make everyone proud,” he said.
Lugo began coaching ice hockey 18 years ago when his son, who now plays for Post University, began playing the sport.