When the decision to name a New jersey State Director came up back in 2005, the answer was simple…Lou Lamarillo. When Lou wasn’t available the next in line for the job was the ISCA Grizzlies’ own Denis Jelcic. Jelcic has been a huge part of the success of the sport in the Garden State and is a constant behind the bench for both the Grizzlies and Team New Jersey. We had a chance to talk to Denis about his program and the sport. Enjoy…
State Wars Hockey: How long has your organization been in existence and who started your program?
DJ: Our program began in 1995 along with the opening of Inline Skating CLub of America in the Fall of 1995. Our organization was started by Inline Skating Club of America Management.
State Wars Hockey: How many teams are in your organization?
DJ: Our organization has a Squirt(12&u), Peewee (14&u),Bantam(16&u), Midget (18&u), two Junior (21&under teams), a number of Mens teams and a Pro team. We will be attempting to add a Mite (10&u team) and possibly a 8&under team together as well. Approximately 10 teams in total.
State Wars Hockey: Who coaches your teams?
DJ: There are a number of coaches. We have coaches who run basic drills, we have coaches who help with power plays, penalty kills and just basic play. Our coaches are normally players from our Pro team who have come up through our Grizzlies teams and a few hockey minds that joined our organization through the years. We try to stay away from parents as coaches, unless absolutely necessary, due to obvious issues that arise.
State Wars Hockey: How often do your teams practice?
DJ: During the heavy time of our season our younger teams practice at least once a week and sometimes twice a week. Our older teams practice and join Mens league together as a team to experience game action along with practicing in a game situation as a team.
State Wars Hockey: Do you guys try to select players from your area/state or do you like to get some out of state players as well?
DJ: The ISCA Grizzlies are just that, players that have begun their hockey careers growing up through the ISCA Grizzlies program along with some friends that have been added to the teams throughout the years that have grown to become part of certain teams. We will take out of state players only if we absolutely have to but do have players we have become friendly with that are good to be around, which we welcome openly.
State Wars Hockey: What makes our event so unique is that EVERY player has to live in the state to be able to play at State Wars. How do you feel about State Wars and our state vs. state concept?
DJ: State Wars created a concept many years ago that I immediately fell in love with. Single birth year, all from the same state and now different talent levels as well; so you really don’t have to compete in 2 or 3 year age brackets, its all that one year and I think it is fantastic.
State Wars Hockey: What intrigues you the most about State Wars?
DJ: State Wars concept of playing single birth year with players at the same talent level has made it the best tournament I have been a part of.
State Wars Hockey: This summer. State Wars 7 will be held in Cincinnati, Oh. Have you ever been to the Sports Plus facility? If so, what do you like about the facility?
DJ: Great! The last time I visited the area, the people were very friendly, the facility was clean, always well managed and had personnel ready for anything you needed at the drop of a hat.
State Wars Hockey: At State Wars, we have youth teams that are made up of mixed players from around the country. These teams are filled with players that want to experience State Wars and who are unable to field teams out of their state. What are your thoughts of our “mixed” teams?
DJ: I understood the concept of the “mixed” teams and I loved it from day one. This is a perfect chance to experience State Wars and at a level where that player belongs. Last summer, I had a chance to coach one of those teams, and I had a great time. I know all of those kids had a great time and I am sure they will be back again for more hockey with State Wars.
State Wars Hockey: Tell me something about roller hockey in your area that most people would have no clue about…..
DJ: Most people think that NJ tries to play a slow type of hockey, following the old NJ Devils “trap” days but its actually the opposite. We want to play hockey up and down the rink and want to let the rest of the roller hockey world, NJ is for real.
Thank you Denis for supporting State Wars Hockey and we wish you and your club the best of luck in 2011! Now lets get New Jersey rockin’ for tryouts this year!