The Long Island 495ers tryout camp took place throughout the month of September at their home facility, Skate Safe America. Fifty players competed over a three week period, ending with a call-back tryout date on Sunday September 26th. With an abundance of talent in attendance, coaches Mike Manara and Mark Ferro led a drill and scrimmage-infested tryout schedule, resulting in worn-down wheels, consumed garbage bins, and a handful of extremely tough roster decisions.
General Manager Mike Manara will be coaching both the Elites and Minors but cannot do it alone. Therefore, Manara called in long-time William Floyd High School Roller Coach, Jim Metz Sr. to assist the Elites. Following a devastating overtime loss in the AIHL Minor Division National Championship, veteran Coach Mark Ferro will return behind the Minor team bench for another season, with hopes to reverse last year’s outcome.
The Elite Team also suffered a shattering defeat in the AIHL Elite Finals last season. Heading into this year’s training camp with a chip on their shoulders, the coaching staff was looking to do some tweaking to an already powerful and goal-thirsty team. Mission Sniper Sean Kearney, TOUR Smoke’s Anthony Landro, and former RHI, MLRH and Semi-Professional Ice Hockey player Joe Tamburino was added to the veteran defense squad, alongside returnees, Captain Jim Tamburino, veteran Assistant Captain Jim Cody and Team USA member Jonathan Mosenson. The Tamburino brothers are reuniting for the second time. Joe Tamburino captained the first 495ers season in 2007, and is making a return, which could possibly be his final competitive season, all with hopes to conclude with a national championship.
Former USHL’s Tri City Storm star Michael Bochichio has been added to this year’s lineup. Farmingdale University power forward Frankie Florio teams up with the speedy goal scoring center T.J. D’Agostino, and the “Batman and Robin” line of Michael Rotola and Joe Mazzie returns for another year to fill up the scoresheet. Returning between the pipes is goaltenders and Craig Brodmerkel and the Pete Pennecke.
Last season, in a three-game series, the 495ers Blue Team defeated the 495ers White Team in the New England Division Championship. The Blue team, who went on to win the East Coast Conference Title, eventually ended their season with an overtime loss in the National Championship.
This year, the AIHL ruled that each organization was to only have one Minor team. Condensing two minor teams to one, along with additional talent arriving at tryouts, was a difficult task. The Minor team will return starting goaltender Jerry Gioia, veteran Captain and forward Steven Sharkey, Erik Molzahn, Michael Saporito, C.J. Tiefenwerth, Chris Mezzapesa and Defenseman Vinny Bianco. They are joined by last years 495ers White Team forwards, Jim and Matt Metz, John Schiavo, defensemen Anthony Rotola, Brian Cody and starting goaltender, A.J. Frey. NYC Nightmare’s 6’6” Jim Brady and Mission Sniper Chris Bracken gets added to the defense’s depth chart and rookie Goaltender Thomas Nostramo joins the squad as well.
The 495ers will be posting their practice and regular season schedule shortly. Please keep an eye out on our website, LI495ers.com for fundraisers and charity events.
Written by – Jim Tamburino