This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.Article Published February 21, 2019
Bill Demetriades graduated from East Haven High School in 1995 as an accomplished hockey player with more than 100 career points and an All-State nod to his name. After high school, Bill went on to play college hockey at Sacred Heart University. Now, Bill is not only an assistant coach with the high school team, he’s also an active coach in East Haven’s youth hockey ranks.
Bill and his family spend several hours a day at DiLungo Rink. Bill loves that he gets to make a difference in his hometown.
“I love the East Haven community. I love being here. I’ve lived in East Haven my whole life and played in East Haven my whole life,” Bill says. “I never went to other youth programs. My kids are going to play youth hockey here. I’m proud to say I’m from East Haven, and I enjoy spending time at the East Haven rink. I’m not doing this to get rich or highlight my career. I do it to give back to the kids.”
Bill competed for the hockey and baseball squads at East Haven. He was recruited to play both sports at the next level, ultimately opting for hockey. Bill had a couple of professional tryouts after graduating from Sacred Heart, but decided to come back to East Haven, and then became a referee. Throughout the next 10 years, Bill officiated hockey games at the youth, high school, and prep levels.
“It definitely gives you a different perspective,” says Bill. “As far as controlling the game, knowing the rules, applying the rules, it certainly helped that I played at an upper level. It was easier for me to control a hockey game.”
Bill stopped officiating following the birth of his son Billy, Jr., and his daughter Emily. Bill currently coaches his son’s Peewee A1 hockey team, as well as his daughter’s Mite B team in East Haven.
“Refereeing meant I was out of the house a lot, so I decided I wanted to spend more time with my family,” Bill says. “We signed my son up to play youth hockey, and the team didn’t have a coach. And I’ve been coaching ever since.”
In addition to coaching on the youth circuit, Bill also joined the staff with Yellowjackets’ hockey squad at the high school three years ago. Head Coach Lou Pane says that Bill is an asset on the bench during games and on the ice at practice.
“As a dedicated coach at the high school level and youth hockey level, the town is so fortunate to have a guy like him, because he’s so dedicated to the youth of East Haven. It’s great to have a Division I athlete giving back. It’s a luxury,” Pane says. “It’s great, because he still has the talent at 42 years old that our players, who are 16 to 18, look up to him during practice. They can’t believe the speed and finesse he has. He just brings so much to the table. It’s a true luxury to have a guy like him on the staff.”
As a coach, Bill emphasizes the importance of staying disciplined to his players. He feels especially proud that his teams minimize the time they spend in the penalty box.
“This year, in the collective 40 games we’ve played, we only took more penalties [than the other team] four times. I’m proud of that,” Bill says. “I try to teach sportsmanship, teamwork, and good team chemistry. None of my players argue with each other, and that’s my biggest asset.”
While some former players may shy away from the coaching game, Bill has gone all-in as a coach in East Haven. Bill feels honored to coach a sport that he loves with his family alongside him every step of the way.
“I feel lucky throughout my coaching career, because I’ve had great groups of kids and great groups of parents. Not many people complain, and that’s a huge help,” says Bill. “The best part about coaching is that I’m doing it with my family. Coaching my kids is the best part, and the other thing is my wife, Erika, is from Brazil. She had no idea about this sport, and now she spends more time in the rink than most. It’s pretty good to be able to spend time with my family at the rink, doing something we all love.”