Vinny Smith lives by the belief that the better the human being, the better the hockey player.
It’s a philosophy that the head coach has preached to his Long Island Gulls 16U squad, and he has seen outstanding results because of it. As the reigning 16U USA Hockey National Champions, Smith has brought the program from barely fielding a team just a few years ago to now dominating the Tier 1 competition.
“When you win something like that [national championship], there are so many things that come out of it. I think probably the most prevalent one is just the belief aspect,” Smith said.
“Most of the guys that come to our program want to be part of the development for them to get to the next level. I think when they get here, they realize you’re part of a cultured program, not just your team.”