Parma Redmen hockey team celebrates most successful season in school history
March 11, 2019
by Jeremy Wald
Parma Senior High School
This season, Parma Senior High’s hockey team had one of the most competitive and outstanding seasons in Redmen hockey history, including a milestone 200th win for head coach Joe Gaudino.
Gaudino, a 1991 graduate of Parma Senior High School, played all four of his high school years for the Redmen and has coached the team since 2001. In fact, the entire Redmen hockey coaching staff is alumni of the school.
“It’s a milestone,” Gaudino said of his 200th career win. “Ultimately, it’s the kids that are playing. That’s more their success too, including all the alumni that played. It’s almost an average of 13 wins per year which is pretty consistent for us. That’s a bigger deal.”
The 2018-2019 Redmen team broke the school’s previous record for wins in a season, finishing with a 29-6 overall record, including a 13-1 record in the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League Blue North Division. The team raised the Blue North championship trophy, along with winning the Nordonia Thanksgiving Tournament and the MLK Tournament in January.
The 29 wins broke the previous record of 28 wins, set during the 1997-1998 season. For his accomplishments this season, Gaudino was also named Blue North Coach of the Year.
The Redmen team started the season off extremely well, winning 16 of their first 18 games. At the conclusion of the season, the team also advanced to the Baron Cup III championship game but fell just short of the title. They lost a tough game, 2-1, to CVCA (Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) in early February.
“This year’s team is special without a doubt,” Gaudino expressed. “What made them good is passion. They had a goal in mind and kept pushing themselves. They had respect for the coaching staff and were very resilient.”
Even though the team did not win the Baron Cup, they can proudly say that they raised the bar for Parma Senior High hockey. The team credited their success to Gaudino.
“I came into the program my sophomore year, not knowing how to play hockey, let alone skating. These past three years he has taught me all I needed to know plus more,” Parma High senior Tyler Tokarcik shared. “He is a great coach and deserved to get coach of the year.”
“Our theme was ‘play as one.’ That was our theme all year,” Gaudino added. “That was kind of our rallying cry in the locker room every game. We would go through the X’s and O’s and the strategy and then I would ask, ’What am I forgetting?’ And they would say ‘Play as one.’”
Besides the record-breaking season, Gaudino was proud of the team’s successes off the ice, including academics and raising $5,700 for the Cleveland Rockin’ Wildcats. The Wildcats are a member of the American Special Hockey Association that gives people of all ages and abilities a chance to learn and grow by playing hockey.
“All of my players were academically eligible,” Gaudino said of his team. “Out of the 16 kids that I had, ten of them had a 3.0 (grade point average) or higher. I was proud of that, and we stressed that a lot. They are students first, before athletes.”
Gaudino’s outlook for next year’s squad is equally as optimistic as this year, as plenty of new faces will be joining the Redmen team in the fall of 2019.
“I’ve got a big class coming in next year,” Gaudino explained. “I think it’s starting to spread. We’re getting eleven kids next year and that’s unheard of for me, considering we have five high schools in the city of Parma…We’re up against it because we are all battling for kids in the same area. That’s a big deal and people are starting to take notice of what we are doing. I’ve never had a fan base like we did at that championship game.”
In the end, Gaudino is proud of his team, his players and his roots at Parma Senior High School.
“I bleed it here,” Gaudino said, with a smile. “This is my home. I couldn’t see myself coaching at any other school, honestly. It was a cool year.”
PHOTO CAPTION: The 2018-2019 Parma Senior High School hockey team set a school record with a 29-6 overall record, along with earning a GCHSHL Blue North Division title. Head coach Joe Gaudino, Blue North Coach of the Year, is seated bottom row, third from the right.