Paul Swann Speaks with Derek Schooley: Remembering the Legacy of Jim Bermingham

During the 1994-95 season, Derek Schooley played as a defenseman for the Huntington Blizzard in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). He registered 18 points and 151 penalty minutes in 66 games, demonstrating his commitment to the sport and determination on the ice.

Transitioning from player to coach, Derek Schooley became the head coach of the men’s hockey team at Robert Morris University. Under his guidance, the Colonials achieved notable success, securing back-to-back Atlantic Hockey regular season titles in 2014-15 and 2015-16, along with a postseason AHA title and NCAA tournament berth in 2013-14.

Schooley’s time with the Huntington Blizzard and his achievements as a coach have shaped his approach to leading the Robert Morris Colonials. His dedication to the sport and involvement in various USA Hockey programs have earned him respect within the hockey community.

Recently, Schooley attended an event at the Vandalia Crowd House to remember his former teammate, Jim Bermingham, who passed away at the age of 51. The gathering brought together former Huntington Blizzard players and their families to honor Bermingham’s memory.

Jim Bermingham, who skated in 500 career games with Toledo, Wheeling, Huntington, Jackson, and Pensacola from 1992-2001, left a lasting impact on the ECHL. He ranks 11th in ECHL history with 588 points, 14th with 362 assists, and tied for 16th with 226 goals. Bermingham’s skill on the ice earned him three ECHL All-Star Game selections in 1996, 1998, and 1999, which is tied for the fifth most in league history. His contributions to the sport were recognized when he was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2019. Following his retirement as a player, Bermingham served as head coach of the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Knoxville Ice Bears from 2003-07.

During the event, I had the privilege of speaking with Schooley, who shared his thoughts and memories about Jim Bermingham. As a former teammate and now a coach, Schooley’s insights offered a unique perspective on the impact Bermingham had on the hockey community and his enduring legacy.

Image Credit: Robert Morris Athletics