Corazzini returns home as Weston hockey coach
Framingham native had tour of pro leagues
Framingham’s Carl Corazzini traveled the world as a hockey player for almost 11 years. He had brief stays with the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, was signed by the Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings, and spent more years in the American Hockey League than he cares to remember.
“When I turned 29, you get the feeling you’re not going to be a full-time player’’ in the National Hockey League, said Corazzini, now 32, who had prepped at St. Sebastian’s in Needham and then played for Boston University. “It was time to move on.’’
After he finished up last year in an elite league in Germany, Corazzini came home for good.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,’’ he said.
Corazzini heard that Weston High needed a varsity hockey coach. He called the athletic director, Mike McGrath, whom he knew, to wish him good luck in his search.
McGrath wondered whether Corazzini would be interested. A certified personal trainer, Corazzini had been working with the Marian High and Acton-Boxborough Regional hockey teams, but wasn’t ready to jump into a full-time day job.
“Then I found out the Weston games and practices were at night,’’ Corazzini said. He took the job.
“First game, Dec. 10, Dover-Sherborn,’’ he said.
As a speedy right wing at Boston University, he played for Beanpot-winning teams three straight years.
“One of my big regrets was not winning the Beanpot my senior year,’’ 2001, he said. Boston College won the NCAA championship that year. “Tough to watch,’’ he said.
He scored his only two NHL goals for the Bruins against the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden. The game was a dream come true for a hockey player growing up in Greater Boston.
“I can’t even describe it,’’ said Corazzini.
He played about 15 games over three years with the Bruins, after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent. He started out with the club’s AHL franchise in Providence. Coach Scott Gordon called Corazzini into his office one day. He thought he was going to be reprimanded for a small team violation the day before.
Corazzini was stunned to hear Gordon say “looks like Framingham’s going to be proud of two guys going to the Show.’’
Corazzini knew that Lou Merloni had just signed with the Cleveland Indians. So he asked, “Who’s the other guy?’’
“He said ‘You.’ It was surreal.’’
Corazzini had a curious start on ice when he was 3.
“My sister Kristin was six, and taking figure skating lessons at Loring Arena. I wanted to get on skates, so I did figure skating too,’’ he recalled. “Then I got tired of being laughed at. I was a figure skater with long blond hair. I switched to hockey.’’
The high-powered Framingham Youth Hockey program was producing some of the better players in the state.
Corazzini played on a travel team that included Blake Bellefeuille and Dan Lacouture, both of whom played in the NHL.
Corazzini chose to go to St. Sebastian’s instead of Framingham High.
“It was a difficult decision,’’ he said. “I decided to step out and take a chance.’’
He flourished in the prep school’s smaller classroom. And on the ice too, in the competitive Independent School League. St. Sebastian’s was turning out talented players that went on to stellar college and pro careers.
“I wanted to see if I could compete,’’ he said.
Corazzini made the under-17 national squad, where future NHL stars Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez were among his teammates. Corazzini held his own, scoring nine points in six games.
“When I got home, BC called me right away and offered me a scholarship.’’ The next day, he said, he got a call from BU’s head coach, Jack Parker.
Corazzini’s head was spinning. He needed time to sort it out.
“Jack was great,’’ he said. “He said, ‘Let’s wait until April of your senior year. We’ll have a scholarship waiting for you.’ ’’
Corazzini was sold.
Wherever the sport took Corazzini, he was willing to go.
“Everything hockey can give you, I’ve gotten,’’ he said. “An education. Travel. Scoring a goal in the NHL. My best friends are from hockey.’’
The traveling will be less now.
Weston High plays its games 10 minutes away at the Rivers School rink (where former Bruin Shawn McEachern is entering his second season as head coach).
“It’s a big transition,’’ said Corazzini.
But it’s hockey. That’s what matters most.