Niagara Gazette

Sports

February 11, 2006

Corsi returns to his roots

Buffalo, N.Y. — While Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller may not be headed to the Olympics in Torino, Italy, his coach is.

Sabres goaltending coach Jim Corsi will serve as an assistant coach for the host Italian hockey team. The Olympics will be a bit of a homecoming for Corsi, whose parents are from Italy. It will also complete a cycle for Corsi, who was denied a chance to compete in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo because he had appeared in 26 games as a member of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers in 1980.

“The night before the Olympics I was declared a professional, but it was a test match,” Corsi said. “The next year, there were pros. “At the time I was quite upset with the IOC International Olympic Committee). I said the only amateurs were the (members of) the IOC.

“The Italian Federation was very supportive. They allowed me to stay in the Olympic Village and serve as a coach.”

Corsi is looking forward to his role with the Italian team. The hosts, who have three former NHL players on the roster, are a longshot to win a medal, but Corsi remembered that another longshot squad won the gold medal on its home ice at Lake Placid in 1980.

“There’s not a a shortage of athletes in Italy, but there aren’t a lot of people playing hockey,” Corsi said. “Michel Goulet (Italy’s coach) is using the late and great Herb Brooks as a template — thinking that winning comes from within. We’re not going there to participate, we’re going there to compete, We all genuinely believe there’s a possibility we can win.”

Corsi, a native of Montreal, who has dual citizenship in Canada and Italy, is proud to serve as a coach of the Italian squad.

“To participate the Olympics 20-plus later, in my second home country, is without a doubt a honor I love to share with friends and family,” he said. “It’s not as if I’m going back to the Old Country, I have a direct connection there.”

Contact Pat Murray at 282-2311, Ext. 2258.

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