Head Coach: Brendan Roche
Assistant Coaches: Vinny Addeo, ’13 | Jody Giani, ’15 | James Fitzhenry
Goaltending Coach: Kelly Delia | Program Coordinator: Rev. John Fencik, ’70
Saint Peter’s Prep ice hockey competes against the top high school hockey teams in NJ, NY, CT, and PA. Prep is a member of the prestigious Gordon Conference, NJ’s top high school hockey conference, which has a number of alumni in the National Hockey League, including former Prep player Kyle Palmieri. The team plays out of the Prudential Center’s Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, the practice facility for the NJ Devils.
Prep hockey began practicing in 1973, sometimes at 4am and 6am, in preparation for becoming Prep’s newest varsity sport in 1974. On February 27th, Prep hockey dropped the puck for the first time, taking on Marist in a Hudson County Interscholastic Hockey Game at Roosevelt Stadium. Mark Ellerson, ‘76 scored the first goal in Prep’s history, and Prep went on to win 5-2, capturing the County Hockey Championship that year.
Prep saw more success in the 1980s, capturing four division championships.
Prep then captured two successive Central Division championships in 2003 and 2004, and made their first ever state final appearance in 2004.
The following season, Prep joined the prestigious Gordon Conference and made a run to the state final again in 2007.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What arena does the team use for practice?
A: Our main arena is the RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, NJ, the NJ Devils practice facility. We practice there two times per week. We also utilize two Hudson County arenas: Pershing Field in Jersey City, and the Town of Secaucus Ice Rink in Secaucus. This enables us to have both our JV and Varsity practices after school at the same time, making it easier for our players to get to their club hockey practices and games later that evening.
Q: How do students get to the rink?
A: For practices in Jersey City and Secaucus, we offer a bus for students. For Newark, previous experiences with rush hour traffic means most of our students find it easier to take the PATH or drive directly to the rink
Q: What do players do with their equipment?
We have space for storage of hockey equipment on campus, but many of our student-athletes find it easiest to have their families meet them at the various rinks with their bags.
Q: What levels do you offer?
We currently have a Varsity team and a JV team. In previous years, when interest has called for it, we also have had a second JV team.
Q: Do players play both club hockey and high school hockey?
Yes, the vast majority of our players play at least short-season club hockey and tournaments, or full-season club hockey, in addition to playing high school hockey. By keeping most of our practices just after school, it helps facilitate our players being able to play and practice with both of their teams with minimal conflict.
Brendan Roche enters his sixth season behind the bench for Saint Peter’s Prep, and his second as the head varsity coach. Coach grew up in Staten Island, NY, and played club hockey for the SI Rangers and Bayonne Rangers, before a four-year varsity career at Xavier HS in NYC, finishing as a senior co-captain. Coach then played three seasons of ACHA club hockey at Harvard University, while graduating with a degree in history and literature. Before coaching at Prep, Coach also earned an M.S.Ed. from Fordham University. He is a member of the History and Social Sciences Department at Prep, and currently teaches upperclassmen in American history. He is a level 4 USA Hockey certified coach and a level 3 certified NFHS coach
Kelly Delia enters his fourth season as the Saint Peter’s Prep goaltending coach. A four-year player for Hudson Catholic, Coach Delia took on the role as a goaltending coach for the NJ Avalanche. After a break from coaching, Coach Delia began working at Prep summer camps before joining the staff full-time. He is a current special education teacher in the Union City school district.
Vinny Addeo, ’13 returns to Prep after a four-year playing career as a Marauder. Coach played AAA youth hockey for the Colonials and Devils organizations before continuing on in juniors with the North Jersey Avalanche. He then played in the ACHA with Rutgers University. In addition to coaching at Prep, Coach Addeo currently coaches in the Secaucus Patriots organization.
Jody Giani, ’15 joins the staff as an alumnus of Saint Peter’s Prep ice hockey. His previous playing experience also includes the Bayonne Rangers and Jersey City Capitals. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.
James Fitzhenry, a native of New Jersey, got his start in the sport in Unionville, Ontario, as a defenseman and was quickly drawn to the position of goalie. He was a member of Seton Hall Prep’s 1986 state championship team, and earned All-State, All Conference, and MVP Honors for the Pirates. He played hockey and baseball at Union College (NCAA Division I/III) from 1989-1992 and graduated with a degree in Political Science and a minor in United States History. He has over 20 years coaching experience at College, High School and high level youth hockey including Juniors, in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York. James coaches to give back to a sport that has given him so much over the course of his life and believes that coaching is all about the players and their development not just on the ice but off the ice as well. In addition to being on Prep’s staff, he runs Fitzhenry Hockey and is a coach for the NYC Cyclones Girls program.
John “Padre” Fencik, ’70 has been a long time member of the Prep athletics department, known universally as “Padre” to generations of Prep students and graduates. For the hockey team, Padre serves as the timekeeper and public address announcer for home games, and provides moral support on the bench during road games. He is also the head varsity tennis coach. He was awarded the Bene Merenti award for his twenty-plus years of service to his alma mater.
Kyle Palmieri (Varsity 2006, 2007): The Montvale, NJ, native called Saint Peter’s Prep home for two years, leading Prep to a state finalist appearance in his second year, before being selected for the prestigious US NTDP. After a successful two-year stint there, Kyle went on to the University of Notre Dame, before entering the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks. Kyle came back to the Garden State as a member of the New Jersey Devils, and recently stayed local, signing with the New York Islanders. He was a 2016 inductee into the NJ HS Hockey Hall of Fame.
Zach Aston-Reese (Varsity 2009): The Staten Island, NY, native spent his freshman season at Prep, before embarking on his junior career with the New Jersey Rockets and the Lincoln Stars of the USHL. Zach then spent four years at Northeastern University before breaking into the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2018-19 season. Zach was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in the spring of 2022 and signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the 2022-23 season.
Robert Triebe, ’78: Playing for St. Peter’s Prep in the 70s introduced Robert Triebe to a new way of being involved in the game of hockey: as an official. Over the next forty years, Triebe refereed amateur, high school and collegiate games throughout the area while also serving as an off-ice official in the NHL. A member of the NJSIAA ice hockey committee and the NIHOA, Triebe was also elected to the NJ HS Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.
Ryan Enrico, ’98: Prep’s all-time leading scorer with 237 career points and two-time captain, Ryan Enrico was a fitting first hockey player to be inducted into the Prep athletic hall of fame in 2019. After his record-setting high school career, Enrico was a four-year letter winner at New England College. The Hoboken, NJ native now resides in Hailey, ID with his wife Stephanie, and has spent the past two decades playing for the Sun Valley Suns of the BDHL.
Giancarlo Cappodano, ’05: A 2022 NJ HS Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Gio Capodanno is the second all-time leading Prep scorer with 175 points, helping lead Prep to conference titles in 2003 and 2004, as well as Prep’s first state final appearance. He then headed to UMass Dartmouth and Salem State, where he put up 106 points in 103 career games. Gio is still active in the hockey community and spends his winters skating with the Beacon Hill Club in Summit, NJ. He is married to his lovely wife Natalia and they have two children, Olivia and Luca
Daniel Perez, ’12: The Bloomfield, NJ native spent four years with Saint Peter’s Prep, before two years in the Eastern Hockey League. He eventually headed to the University of Maine and had a four year career, playing 115 total games for the Black Bears. After his collegiate career, Perez embarked on his professional career with the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits and the Macon Mayhem of the Southern Professional Hockey League. Perez served a year behind the bench for his alma mater the University of Maine, and now runs Perez Hockey Development in Colorado.
Jeff Hoens, ’17: Jeff Hoens was the exemplar of a Prep student-athlete. A goaltender for the hockey program as well as a member of the rugby program, Jeff lived out the Jesuit tradition of being a “man for others,” working as a coach for the New Jersey Dare Devils, a hockey program for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The summer prior to his senior year, Jeff tragically passed away after a diving accident. In a ceremony held at the Prudential Center, Prep hockey retired Jeff’s number 1 jersey – the only number retired in Prep hockey history.
Players in the NCAA
John Kuhl, ’17: After his Prep hockey career, the Essex Fells, NJ, native played in the EHL, before joining the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons (NCAA D-III) for the 2020-21 season.
Stephen Perez, ’18: Perez transferred from Prep to the prestigious Trinity-Pawling school for his senior and post-graduate years, before heading to the NAHL. He joined the Skidmore College Thoroughbreds (NCAA D-III) ahead of their 2021-22 campaign.
Shane Shell, ’18: A three-year varsity player for Prep, the Westfield, NJ, native continued on in the NCDC and NAHL before joining the Hobart and William Smith Herons (NCAA D-III) for the 2021-22 season.
Brian Van Ness, ’18: After his Prep career, the New York City native played in the EHL before joining the Rivier University Riders (NCAA D-III) for the 2021-22 season.
Phil DeCresce, ’19: A varsity letter winner for Prep in both hockey and baseball, the Wood Ridge, NJ native continued his career in the USPHL before signing for the Suffolk University Rams (NCAA D-III) for the 2021-22 season.
Matt Zdanowicz, ’19: The most recent member of the Prep 100-point club, Zdanowicz helped the New Jersey 87s capture the EHL championship in 2022 before joining the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs for the 2022-23 season.