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 John Orlando (Suffern, 1971-96)

John Orlando has done more to promote New York State high school hockey than arguably any other person.  Born in Manhattan, just above the exit of the Lincoln Tunnel, and raised in the Bronx, John went to Cardinal Hayes High.  He played freshman basketball and baseball there, as well as club and pond hockey.  As a 5-foot-4 sophomore, his basketball career came to a halt as he tried to make a team that included, among others, 6-foot-5 future NBA guard Kevin Loughery and future Holy Cross captain Tim Shea.

After high school John went on to college at CCNY, where he played his first lacrosse game (the sport got his attention when he was "beaned" by a ball as a bystander).  He would eventually become an All-American attack at CCNY, and led the country in scoring with 3.7 goals per game.  After college, he coached freshman lacrosse for a year at Penn State, then spent eight years at West Point as the freshman and assistant varsity lacrosse coach for Army.

John started his teaching career at Suffern High School in 1965, (he retired in 1996 after over 31 years).  While there he decided to coach the varsity lacrosse team.  Soon after, he was asked to coach the hockey team as well.  John had played hockey, but coaching?  So he called his friend from West Point, Jack Riley.  They used to play golf together, along with Army basketball coach Bobby Knight.  Riley was most famous for coaching the United States to the Olympic hockey gold in Squaw Valley in 1960, and for cutting Herb Brooks from that team.  With advice from Jack, John went on to build the Suffern hockey and lacrosse programs from the Pee-Wee level up, and went on to coach his Mounties hockey team for the next 25 years, tallying an outrageous record of 456-wins, 99-losses, and 14-ties.  This record currently places him third on the all-time New York State Coaching Wins list.  He also served as Chairman of Section 1 high school hockey a position he still holds.  John also worked countless hours as the Hockey Director of the Sportorama Rink in Monsey, NY., retiring in 2007, a position he held since the arena's opening in 1972.

John Orlando's resume is certainly the envy of any coach and includes the following:
While coaching Suffern high school hockey he posted-

  • 456-99-14 record as Head Coach for 25-years
  • 18 League Championships
  • 17 Sectional Championships
  • 23 consecutive sectional wins (section 9 and 1)
  • 12 Regional Championships
  • 10 Appearances in the State Tournament Final-Four (more than any other team)
  • 1991-92 NYSPHSAA Division 1 State Champions
  • NYSHSHCA founding member and Vice President

His other coaching milestones include:

  • 10 Sectional Lacrosse Championships in 22-years
  • 282 wins as the varsity lacrosse coach at Suffern
  • over 150 victories as a JV football coach at Suffern
  • 335 combined wins in lacrosse- high school/college as head coach
  • posted an 18-0 record, one year coaching basketball at the Henly School in Queens

Coach Orlando fondly recalls the time he coached the West Point freshmen lacrosse team in a game against the varsity.  The freshmen defeated the varsity 16-7, in a year that the varsity team went on to become co-national champions.

John and his wife Anita reside in Cornwall and spend their summers on Lake George where the own and operate the luxury tour boat "Indian Pipes" at the Sagamore Resort.

John was inducted into the New York State High School Hockey Hall of Fame, March 1997, for his dedication to the sport as a truly great coach who has contributed noteworthy service to New York State High School Hockey.  Service that continues to this day, as he is currently the NYSHSHCA Vice-President, a position he has held since the organization's inception in 1996.

The New York State High School Hockey- Hall of Fame, located in the Lake Placid Olympic Center's '80 Rink hallway,  recognizes former outstanding Players, Coaches and Teams that have contributed noteworthy service to New York State high school hockey.

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