PAULA CAPUTO — Staff Writer
Last year Southern hockey captain Joe Innamorato finished with 21 goals and 24 assists in just 21 games—this season has been much of the same for the senior.
“All around, they have a great team, but obviously the team is only as strong as its leaders,” said Eric LaCharity, Assistant to the Director of Student Life. “Joe really just exemplifies what it is to be a leader of a team and a captain.”
LaCharity said in past years, the team didn’t have the greatest reputation and wasn’t as successful. Innamorato has played a pivotal role in turning that around.
“Both him and Matt D’Amato, the other captain, kind of took the team and really just made them do a 180,” LaCharity said. “They’re one of the best teams in the region right now, and through promotion, through just talking about the team, through their leadership styles, through their involvement and just being able to kind of guide them in the right direction…they got the program to where it is today.”
Innamorato graduated from West Haven High School and then completed a postgraduate year at Loomis Chaffee prep school. Since his sophomore year, Innamorato has been captain of the Owls hockey club.
“I’m more of the talker in the locker room,” Innamorato said. “I’m the guy that always tries to keep everything positive and make sure everyone is trying their hardest. That’s one of my big things—I don’t ever want to see a lack of effort.”
Innamorato said he’s somewhat of the “PR” of the group. He makes flyers and hands them out to try and draw in a crowd for the games. Outside of the locker room and the ice, he said he does whatever he can to promote the team and get people excited about hockey.
Innamorato is a psychology major who is leaning towards sports psychology. He said the ultimate career goal would be to travel around with major league teams. He carries a 3.65 GPA at Southern and has made the Dean’s List multiple times. He is also involved in many on campus activities and belongs to the Beta Mu Sigma Fraternity. One of the more popular events launched by the fraternity is “Jail and Bail,” which helps raise thousands of dollars for Special Olympics CT. According to Innamorato, anything from heart walks to Day of Service are events he attends to help out the New Haven community.
This season so far, the Owls are 7-1—Innamorato has four goals and 12 assists. However, the main focus is more on the team rather than himself, he said.
“Right now we have more than 16 people that are capable of going on the ice at anytime,” Innamorato said. “If somebody’s having a bad game, there’s no reason you can’t just put somebody else in their place and still have the same effect.”
Owls’ men’s hockey coach Steve Novador said Innamorato produces on the ice as well as off and he makes his job easier.
“He’s a funny guy, he’s outgoing,” said Novodor. “When he needs to be serious he’ll be serious, whether its academics or having people behave on the road. He’s even keel.”
According to Novodor, Innamorato is the hardest working kid in practice.
“He’s always getting everyone going,” Novador said. “Other guys work hard too, but you never see him taking a drill off, and in the game, at the end you