Southern Tier Xpress Hits the Ice

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Walt Pickut

The Southern Tier Xpress headed out on the right track on Saturday night for the first matchup of their premier season with a home game against the Pittsburgh Vengeance on fresh ice at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena.
“Young men who take the ice for Jamestown’s Southern Tier Xpress learn that hockey is more than a game,” says Brian Cersosimo, Ice Arena General Manager, himself a veteran hockey player and coach. “It’s about life and learning life skills.”
The Southern Tier Xpress is the newest member of the Eastern Division of the North American Tier 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). “Jamestown hockey is back to stay,” Cersosimo said. “If you are worried about another team leaving town, get used to it… we are here! All 13 owners of the Southern Tier Xpress, the Jamestown Area Hockey Association, live around here and are on board for all the right reasons.”
The team’s goal is to create hockey players who can move on successfully in life as well as in professional hockey. “And,” Cersosimo added, “I feel the same way about our coaches. If they get an offer to move up in the hockey world from here, that’s great. I’d like Jamestown to be known as the hockey city creates great coaches for the whole world of hockey”

Record Recruiting
“It wasn’t hard to recruit players to Jamestown, even though this is a new team,” Cersosimo said. “As a matter of fact our final training camp had the biggest group of tryouts in the whole league.  We had 70 young men come to Jamestown, twice the average for the entire league.”
The team attracts players with an honest approach. “We simply tell them what we have and let them make their choice. New players and their families fell in love with Jamestown,” Cersosimo explained with obvious pride. “I credit the coaching staff for making prospective players and their families feel welcome not only to the ice arena but all around Jamestown. Of course it did not hurt that the final day of our training camp was during the Lucy Fest, the same day that Jay Leno was here.”
Although Head Coach Rylan Galiardi is a native of Calgary, Alberta in Canada, and a new transplant to Jamestown he brings the experience of a successful career as a player in North America and England and academic degrees in sports management and business law. Assistant Coach Seth Wolfe was an Ironman hockey player so he knows Jamestown well. He also played top-level college hockey and he also played under Brian Cersosimo’s coaching 12 years ago.

Not for Boys Only
The Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena also hosts Lakers Hockey through the Chautauqua County Youth Hockey Association (CCYHA), offering more than 250 area youth, both boys and girls, the opportunity to not only play competitive hockey, but also learn the values of good sportsmanship, fair play, and respect to others.
The CCYHA programs range from the most introductory levels, learning to skate and pick up the basics of hockey, to the highest level where Lakers teams compete for N.Y. State Championships. The CCYHA also offers a Sled Hockey program for physically challenged players.
More Than Hockey
The Jamestown Ice Arena has set out under new management this year to broaden its appeal and widen its outreach by offering more ice time, support for local groups and closer partnerships with community groups, especially the Lucy Desi organization, jointly sponsoring a wide array of entertainment attractions.
“We cemented the Ice Spectacular contract back in February as quickly as we could for their return in December of this year,” Cersosimo explained. “Ticket sales are already way ahead of last year’s and we are marketing aggressively to everyplace within a 3 hour drive of Jamestown, in all the media as well as with a well focused telemarketing campaign.”
This year the Jamestown Skating Club will present their own ice spectacular on Friday evening, December 12 at 5 o’clock. It is titled “Hooray for Hollywood” and the admission is free. The ice arena will be partnering with the Skating Club, Infinity and the YMCA of Lakewood to produce the event. The skaters are looking forward to the event because the world-class skaters who will be at the ice arena Skating Spectacular slated for Saturday the 13th will be there watching them too.
The Jamestown Skating Club is also getting involved in the Southern Tier Xpress games. The head of the skating club is the team’s scorekeeper and skating club members will be selling food and drinks in the stands to raise money to support skating club activities. They are also considering putting on their own shows between hockey periods.

Cool New Ice
Ice time at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena has become so popular that they’ve installed another rink in the lower level of the arena under the main ice. More skaters can now skate for fun, practice their skills or take skating lessons on a new synthetic ice rink.
Synthetic ice rinks are gaining popularity across the country especially in warmer climates. The skating experience is a great match for real ice except for no frozen toes, cold fingers or ice melt to soak through socks, knees and elbows. In addition to year round availability, the new synthetic ice requires no expensive refrigeration and less subfloor preparation for a frozen water surface.
The new skating rink is now open from 5 to10pm Monday through Friday evenings, and all day on Saturday and Sunday from 9am until 9pm.
Challenges Ahead
Brian Cersosimo’s biggest challenge as the new Ice Arena GM? “Coordinating schedules and doing it all right,” he says. “The best we can do is one piece at a time… and we’re doing each piece right. That’s what is already turning the ice arena around and making it a success. Naturally, that also includes making smart budgets and meeting them and making the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena a sustainable venture.”
I do miss being on the ice, though,” Brian says, “but the front office and being involved in everything the Ice Arena does is just as great.”
For more information, ticket sales, schedules and events, call (716) 484-2624 or stop by at 319 W3rd Street, Jamestown.