When he first starting coaching hockey while still in high school, John Miserendino’s only goal was to make a little money and get some extra ice time.

But over time, he caught the coaching bug — to the point where by the time he graduated college, he knew coaching was going to be his life’s work.

“I look forward to going to work every single day. When you find that, and then can get paid for it, you can’t go wrong,” he said.

Miserendino, who was recently named the new head coach for the Wilton High boys hockey team, will bring that passion to a Wilton team that won only two games last season.

He has no doubt the Warriors will bounce back — and eventually be a program that consistently qualifies for post-season play.

“It’s just a matter of time,” he said. “I’m confident in what I think we can do to develop players to be more competitive in the future. It might be a several-year process, though we could still see results in the first and second years.”

Miserendino replaces Brett Amero, who stepped down as head coach after 11 years at the helm.

Miserendino, 26, already has close to 10 years of coaching experience behind him. He got his start as a 17-year-old, helping coach a team while still a player for the Pomperaug-Watertown co-op team.

The 2008 Pomperaug graduate was a specialty coach for several years, focusing on stick skills and power skating as an assistant coach on youth teams, and at camps and clinics.

He got his first chance to coach a team in 2013-14 when the newly-formed CT Barons Hockey Club — based at SoNo Ice House in Norwalk — hired him to coach their new Bantom (15-under) team.

“I didn’t want to be typecast as a power-skating coach or stick-skills specialist. I wanted more responsibility and I was ready for it,” he said. “(The Barons) gave me my first opportunity to be the head coach of a team.”

In his three years with the organization, Miserendino has seen the Barons develop into a top-notch hockey program.

“We started from scratch. We’ve done nothing but improve and grow the program. It’s grown every year. We’ve got more talent coming in every year and we’re getting better coaches every year,” he said. “It has literally exploded.”

Miserendino feels the same success can happen for Wilton, which is coming off a 2-17-1 season. While results won’t necessarily happen overnight, the goal is to get to eight wins and make the state playoffs every year, and also put Wilton back into the FCIAC picture.

“It’s going to take some time. A change of coaches is not going to automatically get us eight wins next season,” he said. “We’re going to build to be competitive.”

Miserendino comes highly recommended.

“He is a teacher and always looking to teach and educate the players,” said Stephen Ehrlich, founder of the CT Barons and its head of hockey operations. “(Wilton) has a great coach coming on board. He has been great with our organization for years now.”
Among his many strengths, said Ehrlich, were Miserendino’s “understanding of the game and the in-game adjustments” and “ability to understand the player and work with all different levels of skills” and that he was “very approachable” from a player’s perspective.

“He will work the players but will make it so they always want to come back for more,” he said.