Campanelli gets ready to become Adelard Arena’s general manager

Campanelli gets ready to become Adelard Arena’s general manager

Clippers’ athletic director will step away from job on Nov. 4 to join Mount Saint Charles

CUMBERLAND – Matt Campanelli can’t help but laugh whenever someone mentions the team picture of his son’s Greater Woonsocket Mites youth hockey team that was published in The Valley Breeze in mid-June for capturing the Southeastern Town Cup.

Among the players in the front row is Campanelli’s son, Casey, but in the back row is Campanelli himself, listed as an assistant coach, even though he had zero experience playing or coaching the sport.

But starting next month, Campanelli’s going to experience plenty of hockey, as well as long hours inside the state’s most historic hockey rink. After a little more than four years as the Cumberland High athletic director, Campanelli will exit his role on Nov. 4 to become the general manager of Mount Saint Charles Academy’s Adelard Arena.

Campanelli, who accepted the job last Friday and notified his coaching staff of his decision the following morning via email, said early Tuesday morning that his new gig will basically “encompass scheduling, the ins and outs of insurance, budgeting, training and hiring staff, and running the venue and the events that happen there.”

“The goal is to kind of break free from a traditional hockey schedule – 50 minutes on (the ice), Zamboni out for 10 – and make it, especially tied to the (MSC Hockey) Academy, almost like a sports destination, equivalent to a minor league ballpark,” he added. “(Make it) a family event, get bodies in the chairs to watch and support some really great local hockey that’s playing at some of the highest levels that you’ll see in the U.S.”

MSC president Alan Tenreiro, who hired Campanelli as the Clippers’ A.D. in the summer of 2015 when he was the school’s principal – Tenreiro and current Cumberland principal Adolfo Costa even stepped in as the CHS co-head boys’ soccer coach near the end of the 2015 season – reached out to Campanelli “a couple of weeks ago” about the new role, and the discussions they had clearly intrigued Campanelli.

“Just seeing how this program is getting rolling and new things are getting added on, between hockey and the (Sur Le Glace) figure skating (program), Mount has the start of something great going on,” Campanelli said. “It reminds me of my time at Williams College, which was a small New England campus – a private college. As much as Cumberland felt as home, this also has that same sort of vibe for me. I’m very comfortable in that environment and I’m sure I will enjoy my time there.”

“Combined with all the new things that are going on, it’s kind of a cool opportunity to be at the ground level of something that’s getting a head of steam here and is growing,” he continued. “Between figure skating, the academy, the traditional RIIL schedule, and the youth programs they have running in there, it’s an opportunity to do some of the things I really love in athletics.

“A good analogy would be a Friday night football game. I’d show up around 3:30 or 4 p.m. to start the (pre-game) process and slowly build toward the crescendo of a 7 p.m. kickoff and everything that comes with it. That’s what I enjoy the most, and that’s what this job offers.”

Of course, leaving Cumberland was a difficult decision for Campanelli, who graduated from CHS in 1996 – he was a standout thrower on the CHS track and field teams – and takes pride in the work he’s done as the A.D., from “building a very good coaching staff to helping these kids achieve their goals and dreams and have a really good time at Cumberland playing sports and going to school.”

“Obviously, my heart is broken a little bit too,” he said. “I’m a hometown guy, and I had to tell both my kids, ‘We still live in Cumberland, we can still go to games, but we just have to pay at the door now like everybody else.’ At the end of the day, now I’m just a regular fan – a regular citizen – and someone who can be a part of the community and get more involved in my kids’ activities. I’m looking forward to being a regular Cumberland parent.”