The Barrington Hockey Club is celebrating its 50th season during the 2023-24 campaign and launching a new era.
Welcome, John Lenzi as the Broncos’ new director of hockey and varsity head coach.
“After a 5-year break from high school (coaching), I realized my passion revolved around coaching at that level, so I’m excited to be joining the Barrington Broncos,” said Lenzi, 51, who lives in Crystal Lake – and brings three decades of coaching experience to the Barrington bench. He was an assistant coach last season for the CSDHL Leafs 2008 team, where he coached his youngest son.
“I began my coaching career 33 years ago when I started with the Highland Park Falcons. Since 1995, I have been the director and head varsity coach for three high school programs: Libertyville, CCM Tigers, and the D155 Predators. Alongside my high school coaching journey, I continued to coach my sons throughout their youth (careers) with the Yellowjackets, Ice Dogs and Leafs organizations. I have coached all age levels, (including) learn-to-skate, travel, Central States, and high school JV and varsity. My accomplishments range from a couple president trophies with the youth programs and a state championship with the Falcons, league champions and two-time state runner-up with CCM Tigers, plus a few other second-place league (seasons) with CCM, Libertyville, and D155.”
During the 2021-22 season, Lenzi was an assistant with the 2008 CSDHL Leafs team that won state.
“It’s hard to forget your first state championship victory, as I was grateful to experience that early in my career with the Falcons in 1999,” Lenzi said. “I’ve also been lucky enough to coach my sons throughout their youth; something better than a state championship is being able to experience your son win one while being behind the bench, as I did in the 2021-22 season with the CSDHL Leafs ‘08 team.”
Lenzi will be coaching Barrington with his oldest son, Johnny, in his first year on the bench with the elder Lenzi. “That will be a great highlight,” the head coach said.
Lenzi replaces Steve Martins.
“I couldn’t be more excited to have an opportunity to help rebuild such a historically profound club,” Lenzi said. “I have long watched Barrington. Throughout my high school coaching years, they were known as such a dominant and impressive hockey team. When I heard there was an opportunity to help build them back to their roots, I did not give it a second thought.
“After many years facing off against and watching Barrington, I remember how fun and exciting those games were. Our team would have a highly competitive opponent that brought hundreds of fans to the rink. I want to bring that atmosphere back to Barrington and prove they are a program that can compete.”
Lenzi inherits a Barrington club that has struggled in recent years in the ultra-competitive Scholastic Hockey League. They moved to the IHSHL North-Central Division this season, where foes will include defending combined division state champion PREP and state runner-up Chicago North, plus such perennial powers as BG/H/W, AWFM Renegades, Deerfield, Evanston, Highland Park, IceCats and New Trier Blue, among others.
“It’s hard to believe that it has been 33 years. Throughout the countless ups and downs, wins and losses, and hockey-filled memories, it never gets old being able to bring the joy of hockey to the next generation of players,” Lenzi said. “After coaching this long, I’ve picked up many facets that will play a role in my position with Barrington. It also helps that my oldest son, who has played for me his entire life, is now my assistant coach and able to replicate my systems and play style.
“Barrington has always had a great core of directors. Even though they’ve struggled the past few seasons, they have a passionate program and a core of players with the skill and willingness to compete. With the new coaching style and systems, I’m hoping it will bring a spark to the players, resulting in winning some games and (improved) confidence.
“I am no stranger to the North-Central Division and am very excited for Barrington to be involved with this league. Throughout my entire high school coaching career, I have always played in this division; there is no doubt that it provides great competition and an exciting atmosphere. This league will give Barrington a different perspective with new opponents and some better results.”
There definitely is excitement for the fall in Barrington and Lenzi is certain the season will be energy-filled with a new-found confidence from the Broncos.
Barrington brings back three lines of offense and four defensemen who can control and move the puck. Top players include Connor Lenderman, Mark Scavo, Brady Lenderman, Braden O’Hern, Graham Valskis, Nathan Galvan, Michael Quaranta, and others.
“Having played in a high-level league last year, they understand (where) they need to play at. Having that experience, combined with an adapted play style, is a recipe I’m rooting for,” Lenzi said. “I don’t have many worries about the team. I just want them to build confidence and play hard. Even though the past few years have been a struggle, I want the players to come into this season knowing there can be a different outcome.”
The Broncos should be solid on defense, with six steady D.
“Goaltending has been a strength for Barrington. Last year, for instance, (the goalies) were facing 50 to 60 shots in a game, which is no easy feat. We’re hoping to lighten the load this year and provide a stable core around them. Currently, we have three solid goalies who are committed to play this upcoming season,” said Lenzi, driven to rebuild and rebrand Barrington for this milestone season.
“I want to show the players what it’s like to win some games again. Nobody likes to lose; I know how hard that can be on high schoolers. I want to re-introduce some of the love and fun that may have been lost; we want to help them turn a brighter corner.
“The players and parents, board and coaching staff are excited to jump into a new era of Barrington Hockey. We are impatiently counting down the days until our first (game).”