Hawkins named new girls hockey coach at Wilton
By JOHN NASH
Hour Staff Writer | Posted: Saturday, September 28, 2013 2:15 pm
NORWALK -- Melissa Hawkins, a former college hockey player at Manhattanville College, has been named the new girls hockey coach at Wilton High School.
Hawkins replaces Kerry Leonard, the only coach the five-year-old program has ever had. Leonard resigned last spring citing her job in the Stamford School System and her position as varsity field hockey coach at Stamford High School.
Hawkins, who is the director of hockey at the SoNo Ice House -- Wilton's home rink -- said she can't wait to meet the girls and get started the season started.
"I'm excited that the position was offered to me and I get a chance to expand and excel girls hockey in this area. That's very exciting to me," said Hawkins. "I'm definitely looking forward to meeting some of the players and see what their goals are for this coming season, as well."
Wilton athletic director Chris McDougal said Hawkins enthusiasm for the sport stood out and the fact she could become a strong role model for her players was important, too.
"She's extremely eager," said McDougal. "She came across as being very knowledgeable about hockey and very organized. She's been doing hockey her whole life and played in college. She was just the right fit."
Hawkins hails from Binghamton, N.Y., where she started playing hockey as a 10-year-old.
Following her junior year of high school, Hawkins moved away from home to Syracuse to play for the Syracuse Stars U-19 program.
"That really helped me get seen by colleges and allowed me to play at the next level," Hawkins said.
She played as a center and as a right wing at Manhattanville, where she was named an alternate captain for three seasons.
She graduated in 2004 and landed a job at the Greenwich Boys and Girls Club before moving up to the Ice House after it opened.
"I just have a huge passion for hockey," she said. "I want the girls to learn about the sport both on and off the ice. I know there are some kids just starting hockey and we've got others who have played in travel programs. I just want them all to be able to work together as team."
McDougal said 12 people applied for the position.
The school reached out via telephone to six prospects. He formally interviewed three people before naming Hawkins to the post.