It might have taken a few years, but Loomis Chaffee School has emerged as a major contender in the New England prep scene. Under J.R. Zavisza, who took over the head coaching position in 2011, the Pelicans have appeared in the NEPS playoffs five of the past seven years and won two Martin/Earl Large School titles.
Zavisza, an Avon Old Farms dual-sport athlete and former member of the U.S. NTDP, began his coaching career while still playing hockey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As a junior, the Lexington, Mass., native accepted an assistant coaching position at Belchertown High School in Belchertown, Mass., where he spent five years behind the bench, the final two as the head coach.
When the former Minuteman first arrived at the Windsor, Conn., prep school alongside assistant coach Steve Novador, who remains with the team today, the Pelicans and their hockey program were nowhere near where they stand today.