Jordan DiGiando is hoping his knowledge and experience in hockey will carry over to his new role as coach of the Westerville Warcats club team.

DiGiando, a Gahanna graduate who coached Westerville's junior varsity team last season, has the Warcats at 7-7 after they went 3-1 in the Chiller Thanksgiving Classic from Nov. 23-25.

Last season, Westerville finished 11-33-7 overall and 3-18-3 (9 points) in the Ohio Scholastic Hockey League.

"Whatever I bring, I hope it expands the program," said DiGiando, who replaced Brian Thompson. "I've been playing hockey 23 years."

DiGiando, 27, played for Gahanna and Colorado College. He also spent two seasons in the United States Hockey League, including one with Dubuque (Iowa) when it won a national championship in 2011.

Thompson, who was with the club for five seasons, including the last three as head coach, now is an assistant with the Hilliard club team.

Leading the Warcats is senior goaltender Sean Coonfare, who is in his fourth year with the team.

"This is definitely my favorite season so far," said Coonfare, who attends Oakstone Academy. "Everyone is working together. I want to win state this year."

Junior goalie Jacob DeBella (Westerville South) also has made early season contributions, according to DiGiando.

Other key returnees are seniors Benjamin Mannino (forward, Westerville North), Tyler Mowery (defenseman, Westerville Central) and Hunter Schlatterbeck (forward, Central) and junior Gabe Muccio (defenseman, Central).

"It's been a pretty good season so far," Mannino said. "It's a lot more fun than last year. The team chemistry has gotten a lot better. Everyone enjoys playing with each other and it's been a fun season so far."

Also back are senior forward Cameron Myers (South) and junior forward Nicholas Frissora (Central).

Other players are seniors Seth Bennett (defenseman, Reynoldsburg), Riley Morrison (defenseman, South) and Thomas Schuckmann (forward, North), juniors Payton Hilling (forward, North) and Joshua South (defenseman, Central), sophomores Andrew Reisinger (defenseman, Central), Santo Scillia (forward, South) and Alex Snyder (forward, North) and freshmen Sedric Cowans (forward, Reynoldsburg) and Cullen Hassel (forward, Central).

"Consistency is something we're working on right now, (along with finding a) team identity," DiGiando said. "We're almost there. The great thing about the group of guys we have is they all seem to like each other. That's half the battle of building a team around key guys who can bring a team together. It's been really good so far getting to know them. The program is awesome."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedule

*Nov. 2 -- Northeast at Chiller North

*Nov. 4 -- Athens at Chiller North

*Nov. 9 -- Hilliard at Chiller Dublin

*Nov. 10 -- Newark at Chiller Easton

*Nov. 16 -- PHA at Chiller Easton

*Nov. 17 -- Northeast at Chiller Easton

Nov. 23-25 -- Chiller Thanksgiving Classic

*Nov. 30 -- Dayton at Ohio Health IceHaus

*Dec. 1 -- Athens at Bird Arena

*Dec. 13 -- Newark at Lou & Gib Reese Ice Arena

*Dec. 15 -- Dayton at Chiller Springfield

*Dec. 21 -- Athens at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 22 -- PHA at Chiller North

*Dec. 27 -- Newark at Lou & Gib Reese Ice Arena

*Dec. 29 -- Dayton at Chiller North

*Jan. 5 -- PHA at Chiller North

*Jan. 6 -- Northeast at Chiller Easton

*Jan. 12 -- Hilliard at Chiller North

*Jan. 13 -- PHA at Chiller Easton

Jan. 18-20 -- Three Rivers Cup Tournament

*Jan. 25 -- Athens at Bird Arena

*Jan. 26 -- Hilliard at Chiller Dublin

*Feb. 2 -- Newark at Chiller North

*Feb. 8 -- Hilliard at Chiller Easton

*Feb. 9 -- Dayton at Chiller Springfield

*Feb. 10 -- Northeast at Ohio Health IceHaus

*League contest