Amero steps down as Wilton hockey coach

After 15 years behind the bench, including the last 11 as head coach, Brett Amero is stepping away from the Wilton High boys hockey program.

“There were many, many reasons that led to the very difficult decision to resign,” said Amero. “It is not what my heart wanted to do.”

Amero’s teams finished with an 83-142-6 record in his 11 seasons as head coach. Wilton qualified five times for the state tournament and three times for the FCIAC playoffs.

Most of those post-season appearances came within a four-year period covering the 2008-09 through 2011-12 seasons. The Warriors advanced to the Division II state semifinals in 2011, losing to eventual champion Cheshire, 2-1, in overtime. Wilton lost twice in the Division II quarterfinals — in 2010 to Trumbull and in 2012 to Amity — with both opponents also going on to win state titles.

The most recent state berth came in 2014-15, when a first-round loss to North Branford ended Wilton’s 9-12 season. North Branford eventually lost in the Division II finals.

But Wilton graduated many of its top players from that team and slumped to a 2-17-1 record this winter.

"This year's ‘struggles’ in terms of winning games had nothing to do with the decision [to resign]," said Amero, who will continue as a science teacher at Wilton High School. "I think about coaching a high school hockey team in Connecticut like an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg that floats above the sea is like the time spent with players: the early practices, the late games, the wins, the disappointments, the bus rides, etc. This is the time when coaching and learning and working and growing occur.

"This is the aspect of coaching that is undeniably rewarding at multiple levels," added Amero. "This past season's team was one of the closest group of mutually supportive players I have ever coached. They were able to learn from the disappointments and grow as young men and improve as hockey players.

"The tip of the iceberg is what made this decision to resign difficult. The reason for my resignation lies with the many peripheral components of coaching that lie below the sea."

Asked what he will remember most fondly about his time coaching, Amero said, "The relationships and sense of community support that hockey brings to Wilton players/parents/coaches and supporters."

Amero said that no single game stands out for him.

"It was an honor for me to be involved in every game I coached," he said. "There are countless memorable games … most recently was our last game of the season against Masuk …. five seniors (Conor Kilmartin, Preston Turk, Jake Tucker, Henry Hovland, and Harrison Koch), [junior varsity] coach [Paul] Schluntz, and I were all able to end our high school careers with a come-from-behind win."