He works in sales for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. He and his wife are parents to a one-year old boy. That aside, Sault Ste. Marie native Freddie Coccimiglio still finds time to stay involved in hockey.
And, to be sure, his hockey resume is a lengthy and impressive one.
Now a resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the 37-year old Coccimiglio has managed to maintain a presence in the game that he grew up around in Sault Ste. Marie and led him to play as high as the Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association level at Canisius College, which is located in Buffalo, New York.
Coccimiglio played four full years at Canisius and eventually graduated from the Buffalo school with a master’s degree in sports administration. He went out into the work force soon after graduating and later combined a full time career job with either coaching hockey or scouting it.
His current gig is as a first-year, regional scout for the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League. Coccimiglio is responsible for scouting midget aged , draft eligible players in the Buffalo, Burlington, Hamilton, Niagara, Brampton, Grey Bruce, Guelph, Halton and Oakville areas.
Coccimiglio began his duties with Flint under Firebirds general manager Barclay Branch and head scout Dave McParlan a few months ago after working for the OHL’s Central Scouting department for two years under the direction of Darrell Woodley.
High-level coaching has also been a big part of Coccimiglio’s involvement in hockey since he last played the game competitively at Canisius.
Over the past three years, the ever steady, always ready Coccimiglio was the head coach of the Niagara North Stars and the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs AAA minor midget teams. In fact, eight of his Hamilton players were picked at the 2017 OHL priority selections draft led by winger Ryan Stepien, who went in the third round, 41st overall, to the Saginaw Spirit.
Meanwhile, along the way, Coccimiglio was also the head coach for Team OMHA (Ontario Minor Hockey Association) as part of the prestigious OHL Gold Cup.
And before that, Coccimiglio was the associate coach under long time National Hockey League defenseman Grant Ledyard with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the Ontario Jr. Hockey League for three years.
As a player prior to skating at the Division 1 collegiate level at Canisius as a productive forward, Coccimiglio advanced through the minor hockey ranks in Sault Ste. Marie before starring for the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and the Cambridge Winter Hawks of the Midwest Jr. Hockey League.
He was drafted into the OHL by the Kitchener Rangers in 1998 but retained his American college eligibility which eventually led him to Canisius, where he was a three-year captain for the Golden Griffins.
So, with a full time job with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, being married to his wife, Tricia Apostolon (who is also from Sault Ste. Marie) and as a father to one-year old Carmen, where does Coccimiglio find the time to devote to hockey?
“It helps to have a supportive wife and a job that frees me up at night and on weekends,” Coccimiglio told Hockey News North.
With a young son at home, Coccimiglio has stepped away from coaching to concentrate more on being Flint’s regional scout, which while time consuming, isn’t quite as demanding as being in charge of so many practices and games.
And while Coccimiglio enjoyed being a part of OHL Central Scouting, he is also liking the team aspect of scouting for Flint.
“Being involved with an OHL team is like the next step in progression,” Coccimiglio pointed out. “It is good to be a part of a team and an organization that is hopefully headed in the right direction.”
An interesting sidebar to scouting for Flint is that Coccimiglio is again aligned with Mike Oliverio, who is the Firebirds northern Ontario scout based out of Sault Ste. Marie. The 51-year old Oliverio, who was a star OHL center with the Soo Greyhounds over five full seasons, later coached Coccimiglio at the AAA bantam level in Sault Ste. Marie.
“It really is something how small the hockey world is,” Coccimiglio noted. “It is great to be part of the same team with a guy like Mike who was my former coach back home.”
Despite the hectic life that goes with a full-time career in pharmaceutical sales and being a husband and father, Coccimiglio said that continuing to be involved in hockey “is a great balance for someone who is competitive in nature.”
As for having moved away from Sault Ste. Marie to play hockey at such a young age, while he misses his hometown, he does not get homesick as he once did.
That is because, over the past few years, both Coccimiglio’s parents and his wife’s mom and dad moved down to the Niagara area.
“We all live about five minutes from one another,” Coccimiglio relayed. “It’s great.”