Roman Bussetti often watched from the Zamboni tunnel at the Flyers Skate Zone as the cherry-and-white-clad players whizzed around the ice.
After the Owls named Bussetti their coach on June 29, he has become an integral part of a program he once admired from afar, during 10 years as the general manager of the indoor ice rink in Northeast Philadelphia where the team plays its home games.
“It’s a great school,” Bussetti said of Temple. “It’s one of the best schools in Philadelphia. I know they are known across the country for their education, so when you have a better school playing in your building, you’re intrigued to watch them and see how they’re doing.”
Bussetti, who has 20 years of coaching experience, was hired July 1 to replace Ryan Frain, who resigned on April 23 after coaching the team for two years.
“He has seen our team play before,” senior defenseman and team president Patrick Hanrahan said of Bussetti. “He coached for years on multiple teams. This is his first time coaching at the college level though. We know he knows the game and we look forward to putting him behind the bench this year.”
Bussetti’s hockey career started in 1989, at Council Rock High School North in Bucks County. The school won the AAA Flyers Cup and Pennsylvania state championship his senior year.
After graduation in 1991, Bussetti played Division III hockey at Southern New Hampshire University, then known as New Hampshire College. In 1993, he later transferred to West Chester University to play Division I hockey in the NCAA .
Bussetti began his coaching career in 1995 at Cardinal Dougherty High School and coached at four other high schools until 2011. He also spent time in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League, an amateur hockey league, coaching several age groups for Team Comcast and the Philadelphia Junior Flyers.
“They are going to get a very enthusiastic coach,” said Junior Flyers Hockey Director Bud Dombroski, who worked with Bussetti for five years. “He’s also a guy who played the game at a high level, so you’re going to get a good coach that way. He knows the hockey game.”
Bussetti, who was informed of the coaching vacancy by former Owls’ general manager Jerry Roberts, said he is not worried about attracting talent to Temple.
“As long as you can put a program together that’s going to be successful,” Bussetti said. “Then you’re going to get more players who want to come to that school and want to play hockey and get an education.”
The Owls, who will be moving to the Division I level of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, lost eight seniors to graduation and Bussetti is unsure how he is going to replace their production. The veteran group tallied 56 goals, 61 assists and 121 points last year.
“It kind of depends on the players and what kind of players you get and what kind of system you try to run,” Bussetti said. “Without knowing [what system] they ran last year it’s going to be kind of tough to say how I am going to overcome it.”
Stephen Godwin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.