NHLCA BIPOC Coaches Spotlight

The NHLCA BIPOC Coaches Program is an initiative that aims to specifically support black, indigenous and coaches of colour in several areas including skills development, leadership strategies, communication tactics, networking, and career advancement opportunities.

Meet the coaches in the NHLCA BIPOC Coaches Program…

Duante' Abercrombie

Coaching Development Associate | Toronto Maple Leafs


Duante’ Abercrombie, 35, is a native of Washington, DC, and is a proud alumnus of Neal Henderson’s Fort Dupont Cannons Ice Hockey Program. He is currently coaching with The Toronto Maple Leafs as their Coaching Development Associate.

Before coaching with the Maple Leafs, Abercrombie coached two teams in the Washington, DC area — Stevenson University, Assistant Coach (NCAA Division 3) and The Washington Little Caps, Director of Player Achievement (AAA). He also served as the Team Gold Coach at the 2022 USA Select 17 Festival and the Team Black Coach at the 2021 USA Select 16 Festival.

He is an inaugural member of the NHLCA’s BIPOC Coaches Program and The Washington Capitals Black Hockey Committee. In 2021, he was invited by The Arizona Coyotes to be a guest coach at their Rookie Development Camp and was also selected to participate in the Boston Bruins Scouting Mentorship Program. Along with these fully immersive educational opportunities, he was also recently honored to be mentioned in articles by The Athletic and ESPN. The Athletic named him to their “Hockey’s 40 Under 40: The Important People Who Are Shaping the Game’s Future” list, and ESPN listed him as a “Coach their panel would like to see in the NHL” in their “Top rising candidates for NHL jobs” article. He hopes to continue to use his platform as a hockey coach to increase diversity and inclusivity in the game of hockey.

Abercrombie is married to his wife, Melanie, and they have two children. A five-year-old son, Patrick, and a two-year-old daughter, Ava.

Joey Ali

Goaltending Coach | BCHL / Canadian Blind Hockey / Simon Fraser University


Joey Ali is the Founder of Proali Goalie Training and Co-owner of Pro-Formance Goalie Schools and opened Proali Goalie Training Facility 5 years ago. His insight comes from years of playing experience in; BC Winter Games (Zone team), Junior B (PJHL), Junior A (AWHL) & College (NCAA, conference MCHA). He received his scholarship after winning a national title at the Junior A level. In College, he received student awards for academics while studying business and marketing and athletic awards for his play on the ice.

Currently, Joey is the goalie consultant for the following:

  • BCIHL – Simon Fraser University
  • BCHL – Langley Rivermen (eighth season in the BCHL, 2014 Champions), NCAA institutions
  • BCEHL- Fraser Valley Rush (2022 league, regional Champions & Esso Cup Silver Medal)
  • PJHL- Langley Trappers (2022 league & Provincial champions)
  • Team Canada (Blind Hockey) works with numerous minor hockey associations.

Joey is Hockey Canada Certified Goaltending Coach (Level 3) and has been in the NHLCA BIPOC Coach Program for a two-year program. He aspires to one day coach in the NHL.

Joey is married to his lovely wife Natasha and has three beautiful children, Tatyana, Rayaan, and Aaliyah.

Derek Arledge

Hockey Director, Kids On Ice | Fort Dupont


Derek began his coaching career as a junior at Penn State University. After playing for two seasons with the ACHA Div 2 team, he served as an assistant coach for three seasons with the then Penn State Lady Icers, helping to lead them to a 2001-2002 3rd place finish at ACHA Nationals and three consecutive National appearances. After college Derek went on to coach for one year at his high school alma mater, Gonzaga College High School (DC), as an assistant coach with the JV team. His experience then led him to serve as an assistant coach for two seasons with the Baltimore Stars of the CBHL under one of his former coaches as a player. The Stars reached the 2006 USA Southeastern District Regionals.

After moving to Boston and Cambridge, MA, in 2006, Derek served as an assistant coach within the Cambridge Youth Hockey organization, mainly working with Midget and Bantam teams, out of the GBYHL for a few seasons while juggling graduate school and work, continuing his current career in human performance (strength & conditioning/health & fitness). When it was time to move back to the DC area in 2016, Derek answered the call to become the head coach at Holton-Arms (Bethesda, MD) for two seasons. While at the helm with Holton, the Panthers finished runner-up in the Mid-Atlantic Girl’s Hockey League (MAGHL) and won the Miran Division Championship in his last season in the Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic (WIHLMA).

His time after Holton-Arms led him to one of his current coaching roles: In 2018, Derek was named the Varsity 2 Head Coach at Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, VA). The Knights finished the 2019-2020 season as Chiller Tournament Thanksgiving Champions (Dublin, OH) and runner-ups in the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League, in which Coach Arledge was humbly named MAPHL-A Coach of the Year. He says, “We had a young team, but they stepped up and will continue their success on and off the ice.”

While continuing to serve as a high school head coach, in 2019, Derek was named the head coach for the University of Maryland – Baltimore County (UMBC). “The Retrievers did not field a team for two seasons, so we are re-tooling as a program.”

As a fun cool down to coaching duties, Derek serves as a volunteer hockey coach with the Kids On Ice program at Fort Dupont Ice Arena (DC). “I enjoy it because I get to skate with my son and coach with two of my former teammates and classmates. One of them, Billy Bryant, heads up the KOI hockey program, and we have known each other for almost 40 years. My goodness! Did I just write that?…well, 38!”

Capital Boys (Capital Youth) Hockey Club – `90-’97
Gonzaga College High School – `94-’97
Baltimore Jr. Bandits Midget AAA/Jr B – `97-’98
Penn State Ice Lions – `98-’00

Penn State Lady Icers, Asst. Coach – `00-`03 (ACHA Nationals 3rd place)
Gonzaga College High School, Asst. Coach- ’03
Baltimore Stars Midget A/AA, Asst Coach – `04-’06
Cambridge Youth Hockey Bantam/Midget, Asst. Coach – `06-’07, ’12
Holton-Arms, Head Coach – `16-’18 (WIHLMA Division Champions, MAGHL Runner-ups)
Bishop O’Connell, Varsity 2 Head Coach – `18-Present (MAPHL A Runner-ups, COY recipient)
University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Head Coach – `19-2022

Emanuel Beckford

Head Coach | Aachener EC 2013 Die Grizzlies (Germany)


Emanuel is the son of a Jamaican father and a German mother. He started playing hockey at the age of 13. His passion for the game led him to coaching. In 2013 Beckford started his first coaching position with a U14 team. From 2014 up until now, he has been serving as Head Coach of a minor league team in Germany. Besides coaching, Beckford works as a firefighter.

Chris Beckford - Tseu

Goaltending Coach | Mississauga Steelheads


A graduate of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Chris was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 2003, spending time in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), the American Hockey League (AHL), and the National Hockey League (NHL). Chris is currently in his fourth season as the goalie coach of the Mississauga Steelheads (OHL).

Craig Berube

Head Coach | St. Louis Blues


Craig Berube is a native of Calahoo, Alberta. He went un-drafted into the NHL and signed as a free agent in 1986, playing in 1054 career games for the Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals, and New York Islanders. He retired from professional hockey in 2003 and quickly found himself behind the bench with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL for four seasons before joining the NHL. He was an assistant coach for Philadelphia for six seasons, being promoted to head coach mid-season in 2013/14. In 2017, he joined the Blues organization as an associate coach and was named interim head coach during the 2018/19 season where he led the team to capture the Stanley Cup.

Cyril Bollers

Associate Coach, Team Ontario (CWG 2023) | Assistant Coach, Caledon Admirals (OJHL)


The native of Toronto, ON, has been coaching for over twenty-two years in the greater Toronto area, twelve seasons with the Toronto Red Wings and the Toronto Marlboros of the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) as Head Coach and Associate Coach. In 2014-2015 Bollers joined the Pickering Panthers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) as an Assistant coach alongside National Hockey League’s four-time Stanley Cup champion Paul Coffey. 2010-2011 Bollers served as the Head Coach of the Brampton Capitals of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, taking over the team midseason. Bollers is currently the assistant coach with the Caledon Admirals of the Ontario Junior Hockey League

Bollers worked with the Ontario Hockey Federation from 2013-2018 as a coach representing team GTHL at the OHL Gold Cup Program of Excellence tournament. 2011-213 Bollers was an associate coach for the U16 Program of Excellence. 2017-2019 Bollers was a mentor coach for the Coaches Association of Ontario, helping develop female coaches (Changing the Game – Changing the Conversation Initiative). 2013 Bollers served as a technical coach and evaluator for Hockey Canada U17 Team Ontario.

Bollers has recently appointed the Associate Coach position with Team Ontario for the upcoming 2023 Winter Games in Prince Edward Island. As an Assistant Coach for Team Ontario at the 2014-2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC, Bollers helped the team earn a gold medal. 

Bollers has experience as an Executive Board Member of Ice Hockey Jamaica and the Black Canadian Coaches Association. Bollers, who holds Hockey Canada High-Performance Certifications I and II, is General Manager at the Distillery Restaurant Group and Director of Player Development at Skillz Black Aces.

Cyril and his wife Michelle reside in Scarborough with their three children and a granddaughter.

Lyrrad "Rod" Braceful

Amateur Scout | Chicago Blackhawks


Lyrrad “Rod” Braceful is in his second first season as an Amateur Scout with the Chicago Blackhawks. Rod will cover the United States, as his primary focus will be identifying players for the upcoming NHL Draft.

He most recently worked three seasons as the assistant director of player personnel for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. Braceful was responsible for evaluating, recruiting, and selecting players for the NTDP teams. Braceful was featured in back-to-back years of The Athletic “Hockey’s Top 40 under 40: The coaches, executives, scouts, and negotiators shaping the NHL’s future.

Prior to working for the NTDP, Braceful served as the director of scouting for the USHL Muskegon Lumberjacks during the 2017-18 season. He also served as the head and regional scout for the USHL Sioux Falls Stampede from 2014-2017.

The Detroit native is on the board of the NextGen AAA Foundation, which mission is to provide mentoring, education, and hockey programs to diverse, low-income, and at-risk youth throughout North America. Additionally, Braceful has served as a youth hockey coach in the metro-Detroit area for six years with the Little Caesars and Compuware Youth Hockey programs.

Braceful graduated from New England College in 2012 with a dual degree in sports and recreation management and business administration. He also served as an assistant coach at NEC while enrolled.

Fred Brathwaite

Goaltending Coach | Henderson Silver Knights


Fred Brathwaite was announced as the first Goaltending Coach in Henderson Silver Knights history on January 3, 2021. He most recently served as a goalie coach for the New York Islanders during the 2017-18 season. Brathwaite also worked as the goaltending coach for Hockey Canada with their Under-18 team for three seasons and held the same role with Canada’s Under-20 team. He was a goalie coach for his former club, Adler Mannheim of the German Professional League (DEL) during the 2013-14 season.

The Ottawa, Ontario, native spent nine seasons playing in the NHL, where he appeared in 254 games and posted an 81-99-37 record with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage. Brathwaite came into the league with the Edmonton Oilers and went on to play with the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets. He also spent time with the Syracuse Crunch, the Chicago Wolves, Ak Bars Kazan and Avangard Omsk of the Russian Superleague (now the Kontinential Hockey League) and Adler Mannheim of the DEL. Brathwaite won Goaltender of the Year honors in the RSL in 2005-06 and won Player of the Year in 2008-09 in the DEL with Adler. Before embarking on his pro career, Brathwaite won a Memorial Cup in 1990 with the Oshawa Generals.

Nathaniel Brooks

Development Coach | Arizona Coyotes


Passion for hockey is in his DNA. Introduced to the ice when he was 3-years old, Nathaniel’s connection to the game began long before that. His family played in Nova Scotia and founded Skillz Hockey to make hockey more accessible. Nathaniel played at various levels during his time as a player. This includes time in the GTHL, OJHL, OHL, USHL, USport, and semi-professional levels. This experience brought him to coaching, inspiring others while trying to put a positive contribution into the game of Hockey. He has been a skill development coach for over 15 years with experience training players from the pro to minor hockey levels.

    • Assistant Coach, Rams Men’s Hockey (2014 – 2019)

    • Development Coach – Rams Men’s Hockey (2019)

    • 2019 Herb Ebisuzaki Coaching Award (GTHL)

    • Former Head Of Coaching and Development, Forest Hill Hockey Association

    • Presented at the 2019 Coaches site conference in Toronto

Kyle Callaghan

Owner | Wild Wolf Hockey


Through his years of playing and teaching hockey, Kyle has developed a very thorough understanding and deep passion for the game of hockey. This same passion has driven him to not only help his students become better hockey players but to become exceptional and contributing members of society.

Throughout Kyle’s playing career, he was fortunate to gain experience across several levels of play, including playing junior hockey in Thunder Bay. After junior hockey, the sport led Kyle to university, where he suited up for his respective school teams in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA). While playing hockey, Kyle also worked towards his degree in Kinesiology, which he found to be very insightful in terms of hockey development.

With his extensive playing experience in the sport, Kyle took his degree and started to apply his knowledge to learn to skate programs throughout several municipalities. From instructing lessons to coordinating power skating to supervising the entire program, his understanding and application for progressive teaching almost became something unheard of. Kyle’s knowledge had reached beyond what he could imagine, so far that it ultimately led to an assistant coaching offer in minor hockey. Kyle took it as a challenge and a way to be able to give back to the game that gave him so much. He instantly fell in love with coaching and the bond that he was able to create with younger athletes. Kyle grew into his coaching role very quickly and now coaches at the AAA level.

With this knowledge of the game, application of progressional teaching methods, and his hockey skills, Kyle created Wild Wolf Hockey, an elite training company located in the Greater Toronto Area. Kyle’s comprehensive training model, coupled with an unwavering ability to relate to and teach athletes of all ages, has allowed Wild Wolf Hockey to quickly become one of the elite schools in the Greater Toronto Area.

His unparalleled dedication allows him to provide athletes with the best elite training, all while ensuring his students become exceptional people and contributing members of society along the way.

Rane Carnegie

Head Coach | 2008 Toronto Young Nationals


Rane Carnegie is a first-year Head Coach of the 2008 Toronto Young Nationals and proud grandson of the late Dr. Herb Carnegie.

In January 2020, he founded: O.W.N (Our Way Now) Aces Sports Group, a big brother and skill development company based in Toronto. Recently, Rane has been giving virtual presentations on anti-racism, addiction, and mental health through his unique life experiences to junior hockey teams across Canada.

Robert Cathcart III

Head Coach, Canisius College CHF Club Hockey Team | Director of Hockey Operations & Video Coach, Buffalo State Women's Hockey


Robert Cathcart III has served as the head of Hockey Operations and Video for the Buffalo State women’s hockey team since October 2020.

Cathcart III has a multitude of experience, serving in various video coordinator and operations roles since 2008. Prior to joining Buffalo State, he was a Beginner Skills Development Coach for ABC Hockey Adult Skills Clinic in Schenectady, N.Y., from 2017-2019. He also served as a Volunteer Assistant Coach with the RPI Women’s Hockey Team from 2014-2017 and worked for USA Hockey as a Video Coordinator for the 2014 U18 girls and 2015 U15 Girls’ Summer Development Camps. While in the Capitol Region, he also served as a Hockey Coach for the Schenectady Youth Hockey Program from 2012-2017 from mites through bantam age groups.

Along with his role at Buffalo State, Cathcart III also works with the Canisius College men’s club hockey team as an assistant coach, a position he’s held since 2019.

Cathcart III, a Buffalo native, graduated from Boston College in 2008, earning a bachelor’s degree in 2008. While at Boston College, he worked with the school’s athletic department, helping with game day and event operations. He also held the same role at the KeyBank Center, home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. He earned a master’s degree in Sports Administration from Canisius College in 2015.

Lennie Childs

Assistant Coach | Union College


Lennie Childs was named an assistant coach with the Union College men’s hockey team on August 11 and began his first season on the bench with the Dutchmen in 2022-23.

With his hire, Childs becomes the third active black men’s assistant coach in NCAA Division I hockey, joining Leon Hayward of the University of St. Thomas and Paul Jerrard at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Childs most recently served as an assistant coach with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL, where he primarily led player development, the penalty kill units, and offensive zone production. Prior to his time with the Buccaneers, Childs spent two seasons with the Janesville Jets as an assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach in his third season. In addition to player development and working with the defense, he was responsible for camps, recruiting, and the day-to-day operations of the team. Under his coaching, the Jets had one of the best defensive cores in the NAHL, with the second-ranked penalty kill in the 2020-21 season.
During the 2017-18 season, Childs served as the head coach for the Skipjacks Hockey Club of the USPHL, where he guided the team to a 27-10-7 record.

As a player, Childs spent his 4 U16/U18 seasons with Team Maryland. He captained the 2009-10 Team Maryland U18 that placed 3rd in the USA Hockey National Championships. Childs then spent two years with the Janesville Jets serving as an Assistant Captain during his tenure. After his Junior career, he played collegiately at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin. During the 2013-14 season, Childs was an Assistant Captain for the Falcons. Upon graduation in 2016, he became the Head Coach of the Milwaukee Junior Admirals youth program.

Marquise Cotten

Assistant Coach | Mason City Toros


Marquise Cotten started playing in Washington, DC, for coach Neal Henderson, then went on to play at Gonzaga and Bridgton Academy. He then played his college hockey at Lebanon Valley College and Rowan University.

For the past year, Cotten has been coaching in Mason City, Iowa, for the Toros (NA3HL) and helping with the bulls (NAHL). His journey began at his alma mater, Gonzaga College High School, and the Washington Little Caps U18AAA team. Cotten is constantly learning and growing as a coach and a person. His ultimate goal is to help every kid grow, continue to grow as a coach, and be the best version of himself every day.

Emerson Etem

Owner & Head Coach | Long Beach Shredders


Emerson Etem is a native of Long Beach, California, and grew up in a very active family. At the age of 14, he moved to Minnesota to play at Shattuck-Saint Mary’s and led his team to a third-place finish in the Tier 1 U14 2007 National Championships and, the following year, helped the Tier 1 U17 team win their second consecutive National Title. Following his time in Minnesota, Etem moved to Ann Arbor to play for the USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. He was later drafted into the NHL in the 1st round, 29th overall, by the Anaheim Ducks in 2010 and went on to play in 173 games for Anaheim, New York Rangers, and Vancouver. Etem also played 145 AHL games for Norfolk (San Diego Gulls), Tucson, and Ontario. In 2011, he won a bronze medal at the U20 World Junior Championships. In 2020, Etem joined the Missoula Junior Bruins of the NA3HL as the team’s General Manager and Head Coach.

Max Fortunus

Assistant Coach | Texas Stars


Max Fortunus was hired as assistant coach of the Texas Stars on May 20, 2021. It is his first coaching position held following a 17-year professional career that spanned more than 1,100 regular season games in the NHL, AHL, DEL, and ECHL. Six of those seasons were spent with the Stars including a three-year stint as team captain.

Fortunus, 38, moves behind the bench after spending the previous three seasons with Fischtown of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), Germany’s top professional hockey league. He recorded 50 points (7-43=50) in 139 career DEL games with Fischtown, serving as an assistant captain for all three seasons with the club from 2018-21.

Prior to his time in Fischtown, Fortunus spent 15 seasons in the AHL where he amassed 286 points (76-210=286) in 882 career games with Houston, Manitoba, Texas, Iowa and Springfield. The former defenseman recorded 167 points (44-123=167) in 402 career games with Texas over six seasons from 2009-15. Fortunus was named an assistant captain for the 2011-12 campaign before serving as Texas’ captain from 2012-15. He ranks third in Texas Stars history in games played (402), fourth in assists (123), sixth in points (167) and 16th in goals (44), while he ranks first among defensemen in club history in each category.

Fortunus made 10 trips to the Calder Cup Playoffs in his AHL career, logging 31 points (6-25=31) in 118 career AHL postseason games. Of his 10 career playoff appearances, five came with Texas, recording 15 points (2-13=15) in 63 Calder Cup Playoff games in a Texas sweater. Fortunus won the 2014 Calder Cup with Texas, while he also reached the Calder Cup Final in 2009 with Manitoba and again in 2010 with Texas. He was also named to the 2014-15 AHL All-Star Game.

The native of La Prairie, Quebec, appeared in nine career NHL contests with Dallas during the 2009-10 and 2013-14 seasons, recording one assist (0-1=1). Additionally, he spent parts of two seasons with Louisiana of the ECHL from 2003-05, registering 42 points (11-31=42) in 123 games. Prior to his professional debut in 2003-04, Fortunus logged 148 points (40-108=148) in 285 career games in five seasons with Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL, earning QMJHL First All-Star Team honors and winning the Emile Bouchard Trophy as the QMJHL’s Defenseman of the Year in 2002-03.

Léo Girod

Head Coach | Sollentuna HC J20


Born in Cuba and growing up in France, Léo played hockey until the age of 23, then decided to follow his passion and started coaching.

After traveling in Europe to visit and learn from successful organizations and coaches, his career started in Norrtälje IK, Sweden, where he worked as an assistant and skills coach for the U18 team. Then he had the opportunity to be the head coach of SDE J18, playing at the highest level in Sweden.

From 2020 to 2022, Léo coached in Switzerland. He started as a video coach for the Lausanne HC and is currently an assistant and video coach for the SC Bern, one of the most renowned clubs in Europe.

Most recently, Leo became Head Coach of Sollentuna (Swedish J20 Elit League).

Léo is known for his positive energy and soft skills, which allows him to connect with coaches and develop players from all age groups (junior to a veteran) and level (U18 to NHL).

Eddy Guay

Video & Goaltending Coach


Eddy Guay was raised in Surrey, British Columbia. He graduated with a Sports Management Bachelors Degree (with a minor in Hockey coaching) from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Vierumäki, Finland. Starting with assignments and projects with the IIHF (as a student), he would move on to an internship with Royal Belgian Ice Hockey Federation (Antwerp) in the hockey development department.

Joining the UBC Hockey Programmes for the 2015-16 season as a video coach and helping win the Canada West Conference with the Women’s program. The team would finish as runners-up for the Women’s National Championship tournament. Most recently, working on the video with the UBC Men’s program for the 2021-2022 season.

Eddy has also worked on multiple U18 Female National Championships tournaments (2016,2017, 2019), with Team BC medalling in 2016 and 2017. Most recently, winning gold at the 2021 Western Regional Tournament as the team’s video/goalie coach.

In 2016, he worked as a 2nd video coach for the Finnish Women’s National Team at the IIHF Women’s World Championships in Kamloops, BC. Eddy expanded his international experience as a video coach for the IIHF Officiating crew working in World Juniors tournaments in 2018, 2019, and 2022, and Men’s Worlds in 2018. In 2021, he joined Canada’s Women’s National Development team for the Summer Showcase in Calgary, AB. In 2022, he worked his 100th game in the IIHF World Championship Programme. Also, in 2022, he became one of the first goalie coaches in Canada to achieve a Level 3 certification.

For the 2022-2023 season, Eddy joined the Trinity Western University Spartans (CanadaWest) Women’s Program as the goalie coach. Since 2016 he has worked with Pasco Valana and the Elite Goalie (Canada) goalie instructor crew in the Vancouver area.

Others: Graduated with a Sports Business Management Diploma and a Culinary Arts certification.

Leon Hayward

Assistant Coach | University of St. Thomas


Leon Hayward joined The University of St. Thomas In June of 2021 for the Tommies’ inaugural Division I season. The school’s transition directly to Division I NCAA hockey from the Division III level has never been done before. Hayward leads UST’s recruiting efforts and works with the team’s forwards and penalty kill.

The Seattle, Washington, native served as an assistant coach for four seasons at Colorado College, working with defensemen and penalty kill on the ice while coordinating the Tigers’ recruitment processes. Hayward helped Colorado College’s Division I recruiting class rankings to move to 4th Nationally from 39th and 13th, along with bringing in three players who were NHL draft selections. Hayward, who has his master’s degree in Leadership from Northeastern, is currently in his 16th coaching season.

For nine seasons, Hayward coached high school hockey in Connecticut and Massachusetts at Avon Old Farms, Governors, and Taft prep schools. While coaching at Avon Old Farms, he would coach four future USA Hockey WJC players and 5 NHL draft picks, including 1st round selections Trevor Zegras and Spencer Knight.

In his only season coaching professionally, Hayward helped lead the Texas Wildcatters to historic single-season ECHL records. In 2007-2008 the Wildcatters would rank among the top single-season teams in ECHL history. Fewest Losses (9) and Fewest Road Losses (6) 1st ECHL all-time, 23 Consecutive games without a regulation loss (18-0-5), and Most Road Wins (26) tied for 1st ECHL all-time, Best Points Percentage (.799) tied 2nd ECHL all-time, and Fewest Home Losses (3) 3rd ECHL all-time.

He played in 132 college games as a forward at Division I Northeastern (1998-2002), scoring 30 points (15 goals), and as a senior, received the team’s Unsung Hero Award. He scored 85 goals and had 88 assists in six pro seasons, including four in the American Hockey League. He led Trenton to an ECHL Kelly Cup championship in 2005 and was named Kelly Cup Finals MVP as he finished with 11 points over 20 playoff games.

Hayward and his wife, Jessica, have two sons, Ellison and Harlan.

Derrick Henderson

Head Coach | St. Francis DeSales High School


Derrick Henderson was born and raised in Levittown, PA. When not playing football, Derrick could be found playing street and roller hockey. Throughout high school, Derrick competed in roller hockey leagues in Eastern PA and Central NJ.

After high school, Derrick attended Bowling Green State University, where he began taking ice hockey classes. His passion for hockey led him to an opportunity to become a student equipment manager for the Falcons’ NCAA Division 1 team. During his time in this role, Derrick would learn from the BG coaching staff led by the longtime college coach, Buddy Powers.

After college, Henderson would continue playing in roller hockey leagues in Michigan and Arizona before returning to Bowling Green and beginning his coaching career. Henderson began coaching goalies for the BGSU Women’s ACHA hockey team as well as working with BG Youth Hockey’s Travel teams.

After moving to Columbus, OH, Derrick immediately began working with the Columbus Ice Hockey Club and the Easton Youth Hockey Association, eventually becoming EYHA’s Director of Goalie Development. From there, he began working with several area high school programs as a goalie coach and eventually moved on to become an assistant coach.

Derrick’s first opportunity as a head coach came when he took over the Ohio State University Women’s ACHA program. Henderson held that position for three seasons before moving back to the high school ranks. He is currently in his second season as the Varsity Head Coach for the St. Francis DeSales high school team.

When not coaching DeSales, Derrick lives in Columbus with his wife, Yana, working as a software developer and also running his goalie training company, Capital Goaltending Instruction.

Neal Henderson

Founder | Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club


Neal Henderson co-founded the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club in 1978 in his hometown of Washington, D.C. Fort Dupont is a developmental program that provides local and inner-city youth with the opportunity to participate in an organized ice hockey program. Henderson’s program is the oldest minority hockey league in North America and offers youth 8 to 18 a chance to practice their skills as hockey players while utilizing the sport as a way to establish a sense of community, self-esteem, and purpose.

In 2019, Henderson became the first black person elected into the U.S Hockey Hall of Fame for his work influencing the lives of more than 1,500 kids over the years. He has also been awarded the NHL/Bridgestone Mark Messier Youth Leadership Award, the USA Hockey William Thayer Tutt Award, and countless other honors.

Henderson was also an integral part of creating the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone program that seeks to drive positive social change and inclusivity throughout the hockey community.

JJ Holmes

Coach | BC Hockey


Jonathan Holmes was born in Merritt, BC, and grew up in the community of Upper Nicola Band.

At the age of 13, JJ started his hockey career with Merritt Minor Hockey. He went on to play in the National Aboriginal Championships in Cornwall, Ontario, followed by two years for the Princeton Posse Junior B hockey team.

Once becoming a father to 2 boys, JJ’s hockey Career looked very different, and instead of playing competitively, he shared his passion with many kids over the past nine years as a coach.

Michael Hutton

Head Coach | USA Hockey


Michael “Hutty” Hutton, originally from Royal Oak, Michigan, began his hockey playing career at age six after his family had relocated to North Carolina, where he skated every day at the local ice rink that was in a mall. Hutton went on to play hockey for the next 15 years, from youth all the way to Junior A level. Growing up, Hutton went to two summer sessions at Michigan State University Hockey training camp, Darren Turcotte Stickhandling training camp, and Robbie Glantz Power Skating Hockey camp. After playing for multiple years, Hutton was a five time North and South Carolina State Games Gold Medalist, Participated at Hockey Night in Boston (Team South East) and the Chicago Showcase (Team South East). Shortly after, competing in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program camps (Under 16 and 17), and then playing Tier 1 AAA Midgets with the Soo Indians and Soo Hawks for the next few seasons in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. Then played, Junior A in the American Western Hockey League with the Bismarck Bobcats in Bismarck, North Dakota, and the following season with the Texas Tornado North American Hockey League in Dallas, Texas. After an unfortunate automobile accident at age 20 from a tire blowout traveling to the Tornado training camp that ended Hutton’s hockey-playing career, he dove into coaching.

Hutton is a Passionate, self-motivated, and experienced coach who has proven leadership skills for 18 years. Involved in the successful training and guiding of sports teams that have accomplished continual high goals. Familiar with the requirements it takes to strengthen and encourage injured players to wellness again. Specializes in developing mental toughness and standards of excellence in athletic ability. Familiar with the requirements it takes to cultivate a group of individual players to form one solid, synergistic team. Former players have moved on to play at the professional level: NHL, AHL, and International, along with NCAA college D1, D3, and at the Junior level. Texas Tornado, which won four NAHL championships during his tenure, along with three National Championships (2000-2007.

Hutton resides in Matthews, right outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. In the meantime, he trains upcoming elite hockey players, Off Ice Officials with Charlotte Checkers – American Hockey League. Also, Vice President of the mental health foundation for the hockey community in the Carolinas while attending school in the Pharmacy Technology Science Degree program.

CEP Level 5

Coaching Experience:

  • New Jersey Colonials Youth Hockey
  • Connecticut Jr Whalers Youth Hockey
  • Texas Tornado (NAHL)
  • University of North Carolina-Charlotte
  • Queen City Royals Youth Hockey
  • Charlotte Flames Youth Hockey
  • Pineville Falcons Youth Hockey

Hockey Competitor 15 years:

  • Junior A-North American Hockey League (Texas Tornado 1999 & 2000)
  • Junior A-American Western Hockey League (Bismarck Bobcats 1998)
  • AAA Midget Soo Hawks (1997)
  • AAA Midget Soo Indians (1996)
  • Hockey America NHL Summer Camp Head Instructor-1996-1998
  • Chicago Showcase (Team South East: 1995)
  • Hockey Night in Boston (Team South East: 1995)
  • USA National Team Development Program (Under 16, 17: 1995 & 1996)
  • Team South All Stars (1993-1995)
  • Robby Glantz International Power Skating Training (1994 & 1995)
  • Darren Turcotte Stickhandling Training (1990-1993)
  • five time North and South Carolina State Games Gold Medalist (1988-1993)
  • ten seasons of youth hockey (Charlotte Amateur Hockey association: 1985-1995)

Frantz Jean

Goaltending Coach | Tampa Bay Lightning


Frantz Jean was born in Montreal and played his junior hockey with St-Hyacinthe and Victoriaville of the QMJHL. He received a scholarship to the Université de Moncton, winning the National Championship in 1995. Frantz began coaching at the young age of 14, having worked under the supervision of notable coaches like Francois Allaire and Phil Myre.

He was a goaltending consultant for Hockey Canada in the summers of 2009 and 2010 winning a Gold Medal at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and is also a member of Hockey Canada’s National Goaltending Consultants Team. His big break came with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL where he coached for 12 years before joining Tampa Bay in 2010. With Moncton, Jean’s goaltenders allowed the least number of goals in four different seasons, been named defensive player of the year or goaltender of the year three times, named first or second all-star teams on five occasions, and had six goalies drafted or signed as a free agent in the NHL.

In 2010,Jean joined the Tampa Bay Lightning as the team’s goaltending coach where he works with all goalies throughout the organization winning the Stanley Cup in 2020. To date some of his most notable accomplishments with the Tampa organization include, Jean has coached their goaltenders to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, 2019 Presidents Trophy, 2015 Stanley Cup Final, 2013 Calder Cup Final, 2012 Calder, and Kelly Cup Championships. Additionally, Jean coached Andrei Vasilevskiy to the franchise’s first Vezina Trophy in franchise history in 2019 having produced four Vezina finalists in Ben Bishop (2014 & 2016) and Andrei Vasilevskiy (2018 & 2019).

Paul Jerrard

Assistant Coach | University of Nebraska Omaha


Feb. 16, 2023: It is with great sadness that we share the news of Paul Jerrard’s passing. A veteran and titan of the hockey community, Jerrard spent 23 years behind the bench as an assistant coach in the National Hockey League, American Hockey League and National Collegiate Athletic Association. He will be greatly missed. 

Paul Jerrard is a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was drafted by the New York Rangers in 1983 in the 9th round, 173rd overall, and went on to attended Lake Superior State University, playing on the men’s varsity hockey team for four seasons. After attending University, Paul went on to play in the IHL, suiting up for Colorado, Denver, Kalamazoo, Albany, Milwaukee, and Fort Wayne totalling 503 career games and played in the AHL for the Hershey Bears. He won the Calder Cup in 1997 with Hershey before retiring from professional hockey.

He began his coaching career by joining his alma matter Lake Superior in 1997 before making the jump to the AHL with Hershey, Iowa, Texas, and Utica and the NHL with Colorado, Dallas, and Calgary. Paul has over 20 years of experience being behind the bench and has spent the last 4 seasons with the University of Nebraska – Omaha as the team’s assistant coach.

Suneil Karod

Assistant GM & Assistant Coach | Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)


Suneil was born in Nanaimo, BC and currently lives in Victoria, BC. He started his career at a young age coaching minor hockey in Nanaimo. He quickly moved to junior hockey where he coached with the Victoria Cougars and found a talent for developing players for Junior A. Suneil won many championships at the Jr B level and made his way to the BCHL as an assistant coach with the Powell River Kings finding success along the way, culminating in a National Championship, winning the Royal Bank Cup with the Chilliwack Cheifs, as an assistant coach.
Suneil is currently the Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL.

John Kennedy Jr

Director & Skills Coach | NSA Hockey (Australia)


Born and raised in Michigan, John Kennedy J’s Career in hockey has taken him to the other side of the world. Following a successful NAHL career, which included winning a national championship with the St. Louis Bandits under head coach Jon Cooper, John was recruited to play for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Engineers. He captained the team in his Junior and Senior season leading the school to an NCAA Tournament appearance. Following his collegiate career, he played semi-pro in the CHL before moving to Australia in 2012. John won two AIHL national championships with the Newcastle Northstars and began coaching the team in 2019 being named Coach of the Year for the league.

John is responsible for co-founding the National Sport Academy (NSA) Hockey – Australia’s leading development academy helping and advising the top players to get recruited overseas and advancing their hockey journey. With NSA, John works with the local hockey community to introduce people to the game, develop players’ abilities, and help provide resources to coaches.

Alex Kim

Head Coach | Anaheim Jr. Ducks


A Southern California native, Kim grew up playing for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and Los Angeles Jr. Kings AAA programs. Following a rookie season with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, Kim played collegiately at Miami of Ohio University and Colorado College while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Kim also participated in the 1998 World Junior Summer Challenge for Team USA and the Four Nations Cup for the USHL during the 1999-2000 season. After college, Kim played eleven seasons of professional hockey in the AHL, ECHL, Europe, and Asia.

Kim currently serves as the Director of Player Personnel for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and is currently in his 10th year as head coach of the 16AAA program.

Under Kim’s leadership, the Jr. Ducks 16AAA program has advanced to the USA Hockey National Tournament in five of the last six years. Additionally, more than 40 players have progressed onto Major Junior and Junior A programs. Over 30+ players from Kim’s teams have made NCAA Division 1 commitments, two have been selected in the NHL Draft, and multiple players have represented USA Hockey in international competition.

Kim also serves as the Head Scout for the USHL (Pacific Region) and is in his 8th year with the league’s scouting bureau.
He also has trained current NHL & AHL players – Matt Nieto (San Jose), Matt Tennyson (Palm Springs), Jason Robertson (Dallas), Nick Robertson (Toronto), and Chase Deleo (San Diego).

Sam Kim

Video Coach | Toronto Maple Leafs


Sam Kim had a different path to joining the coaching fraternity than most in the NHL. He began his career in hockey as Sparky the Dragon, the New York Islanders mascot. A graduate of Boston College with a degree in Economics and a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Kim has held many roles throughout his journey to joining the Toronto Maple Leafs as the team’s video coach in 2020. Kim was the first coach to lead Columbia to the MCHC Championships in 2010 as the team’s head coach before he joined the American International College as the video coordinator and later the Director of Hockey Operations. He went on to spend three seasons in the AHL, one season with Springfield as the team’s video and statistical coordinator (2015-16) and two seasons with Bakersfield as the Video Coordinator (2018-20). Additionally, Kim was the video coach with the Korea Ice Hockey Association, where he won a silver medal at the D1A World Championships and a gold medal at the D2A World Championships both in 2017. Kim also holds his Coaching Education Program Level IV Certification from USA Hockey.

Sinclair Kim

Head Coach | Greater Vancouver Canadians


Sinclair Kim is in his third season as a coach with the Greater Vancouver Canadians. Hockey has taken Kim all over the world, with stops in South Korea and most recently Sweden. He has worked with players from all levels from beginners to professionals. His passion is to help young players grow, both on-and-off the ice.

After growing up and playing hockey in the lower mainland, Kim continued his hockey playing journey all the way to the college level. His coaching career highlight is getting to coach in a different country and experiencing different hockey cultures.

Nigel Kirwan

Head Video Coach | Tampa Bay Lightning


Video coach Nigel Kirwan is an original member of the Lightning organization. He is responsible for breakdown of pre-scout and game film, formulation of scouting reports on opposing clubs and the creation of highlight and specialty film for use by the Lightning coaches and players. Additionally, Kirwan previously coached Lightning prospects during team rookie and development camps.

Kirwan coached amateur hockey at various levels in both Canada and the United States for 17 years. He is very active in youth hockey camps and clinics, including Tampa Bay’s “Lightning Made” youth camps. He also served as the video coach for Team USA at the 2009 and 2008 World Championships in Switzerland and Canada, respectively. Kirwan also joined Team USA for the 2016 World Cup. Kirwan was also part of the Lightning Stanley Cup Champion teams in both 2004 and 2020.

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Kirwan attended the University of Western Ontario and the University of Tampa. He started with the Lightning as a member of the front office staff for four years before then-coach Terry Crisp hired him prior the start of the 1996-97 season.

Samson Lee

Video Coordinator | LA Kings


Samson Lee was born and raised in British Columbia and graduated from Boston College with a degree in accounting in 2012. While studying at Boston College, he worked as the video coordinator for the varsity men’s hockey team for four seasons working under Hockey Hall of Fame member Jerry York. After graduation, he joined Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL as the Video Coach for three seasons. Lee made the jump to the NHL with the LA Kings in 2015, where he serves as the Kings Video Coordinator for Todd McLellan’s staff.

Derrell Levy

Founder | In-Tech High Performance


Derrell Levy’s extensive experience and knowledge stem from a lifetime of athletics, including winning a National Hockey Championship in 2007 with Oswego State University and playing several years of Minor Pro Hockey. As a teenager, CBC took note of Levy’s impressive work ethic and mindset, as he was featured in the CBC documentary “Making the Cut.” Following the series, Levy was granted the Reader’s Digest Award.

Since this time, Derrell has mentored a team that has trained youth athletes all the way to the professional level on and off the ice.
Derrell and his team have supported NHL central scouting combine for the past six years. Derrell and his team are highly recognized for there offseason program and their HP Academy in Toronto.

Sudarshan Maharaj

Goaltending Coach | Anaheim Ducks


Sudarshan Maharaj is a native of Trinidad and grew up in Toronto. He attended York University where he played on the 1984-85 Championship team before spending six seasons playing professionally in Sweden. He joined the New York Islanders organization from 2003 to 2006 as the team’s goalie coach before returning to the team as the goaltending consultant from 2009 to 2012. During this time away from the Islanders, he helped develop the National Goaltending Training Program for Hockey Canada. Since 2013, Maharaj has been with the Anaheim Ducks organization, spending three seasons as a goaltending consultant for the team’s American League affiliate San Diego (formerly Norfolk) and in 2016, took over as the goaltending coach for the Ducks.

Harry Mahesh

Associate Coach | Powell River Kings (BCHL)


Born in Vanderhoof British Columbia, Grew up and played minor hockey there for 10 Seasons. Left home at 15 and played 6 seasons of junior hockey between BC, Alberta and finally Manitoba where he served has team Captain of the Winkler Flyers junior A hockey team. After moving on from junior hockey, played a season of pro overseas in Sweden followed by 6 more season of minor pro in the US. After retiring from playing, began coaching the following season for a former junior team in Alberta . Over the past 6 seasons have coached all levels of hockey from minor hockey, academy hockey and junior hockey for both male and female programs. Was the first ever South Asian Head Coach and GM in the Canadian Junior A Hockey League. Currently an Assistant Coach for the Selkirk Steelers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

Manny Malhotra

Assistant Coach | Toronto Maple Leafs


Manny Malhotra joined the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead of the 2020 NHL Season as an Assistant Coach. A Mississauga, Ontario native, Malhotra had spent the previous three NHL seasons as an assistant coach for Vancouver after first joining the Canucks’ staff as a development coach in in 2016-17. 

As a player, Malhotra played 16 seasons in the NHL across seven organizations after being drafted in the first round (seventh overall) by the New York Rangers in the 1998 NHL Draft. Through his NHL career, Malhotra recorded 295 points (116 goals, 179 assists) in 991 regular season games while also skating in 35 career Stanley Cup playoff games. He also won a Calder Cup championship in 2000 with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), playing in all 23 postseason games for the club. Prior to beginning his professional career, he won an OHL Championship in 1998 with the Guelph Storm. 

Internationally, Malhotra represented Canada at the World Championships in 2002 after playing for his country at the World Junior Championships in 1998 and 2000. He served as captain for Canada at the 2000 World Juniors, capturing a bronze medal. He was also a member of Canada’s Spengler Cup championship team in 2015-16.

Joel Martin

Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations | Kalamazoo Wings


The 2022-23 season is the first season for Martin as Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations of the K-Wings, after three behind the bench as Kalamazoo’s assistant Coach. This follows a playing career that spanned 15 seasons arcoss all levels of professional hockey. On January 18, 2021, Martin was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame.

Martin is no stranger to Kalamazoo, as the former player, assistant and now head coach played nine seasons for the K-Wings before retiring after the 2017-18 season. Currently, Martin ranks No. 1 in ECHL history for career 30-plus win seasons (3), is fifth in ECHL history for career wins (200), and he put together the third best season by any ECHL goaltender, posting 36 victories in 2015-16.

Joel also holds the Kalamazoo Wings record for career wins (229), shutouts (21), games played (422), minutes played (24,755), and saves (12,310). For his efforts, Martin brought the Colonial Cup home to Kalamazoo in 2005-06.

Prior to making his professional debut in 2003 with the Bakersfield Condors, Martin spent three seasons in the Western Hockey League with Lethbridge, Tri-City, Vancouver, and Calgary, where he appeared in 123 games, posting a 46-50-9 record, with a 3.24 GAA and a .893% save percentage.

Martin resides in Kalamazoo with his wife Caroline and sons, Louis and Thomas.

Jason McCrimmon

President | Detroit Ice Dreams


Jason McCrimmon has trained several elite hockey athletes, including (current NHL/AHL players Jalen Smereck and Dakota Joshua) with his comprehensive program designed to prepare players to compete and perform at their best possible ability. As a retired player himself, Jason has played and excelled at every level, including amateur, collegiate, professional, and as a coach (MWJHL Coach of the year 2014). Born and raised in the city of Detroit, McCrimmon played youth hockey for the Detroit Rockies out of Jack Adams. He then went on to play Junior A hockey for Belle Tire, playing NCAA Division III hockey at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. After college, McCrimmon played years of professional hockey in the states and in Europe, where he captained a team in Finland.

McCrimmon is currently the President/Founder of the Detroit Ice Dreams Youth Hockey Association and Head Coach/GM and owner of the USPHL Motor City Hockey Club (Junior A) team, which has over players that currently play Collegiate and Professionally. McCrimmon was recently named as Youth Hockey Ambassador for the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL as well as named to the NHL’s top 40 under 40.

Errol McDonald

Player Advisor & Founder | Avenue Sports Management


Errol McDonald, BA, RRC, is the Founder and Managing Director of Avenue Sports Management. He is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, where he attended and played four seasons for the Division I Tigers Hockey Team. After graduating with a degree in Business Management and continued education within the financial industry, he added his RRC designation in financial planning.

His path as a player from Junior A to the NCCA and eventually professional hockey in the United Hockey League is what assists Errol in providing sound advice to young athletes on and off the ice. His experience in business, marketing, and operational development has allowed him to channel those experiences into player advisory, coaching, and development.

Errol is dedicated to pushing each player to their full potential with effective training, coaching, and mentorship to improve their skill set and mental awareness and compete for level and professionalism. As someone who has been through the process, he is able to use his experiences to guide young athletes through those same pathways toward achieving their own goals.

For more information, visit – avenuesportsmgmt.com/

PD Melgoza

Assistant Coach | Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL)


Growing up in Long Beach, California, PD grew up playing for the California Wave and LA Jr. Kings organizations. After his playing career PD reached out to Colin Zulianelo to work and learn under his guidance. PD moved back home to give back to the youth by providing goalie coaching with the LA Jr. Kings. In 2019 he moved to Anchorage, AK, to take over the role vacated by Steve Thompson, which included running AKGA, a goaltending academy in AK, along with working for USA hockey as Alaska (GDC) and Working at UAA (NCAA D1) under Matt Curley. In 2020 he was promoted to Director of hockey operations for UAA while continuing to run AKGA and putting on coaching clinics all over the state of Alaska. In 2021 Matt Smaby hired him as Assistant Coach for the Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL).

Alfie Michaud

Assistant Coach | University of Maine


Alfie was born in Selkirk, Manitoba, where he played all his minor hockey until he left for Saskatchewan to play his Jr hockey. He then earned a scholarship to play for the Maine Black Bears.

During his playing days with the Black Bears, Michaud helped guide the University of Maine to its second NCAA National Championship in 1999, earning the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player accolade and an NCAA All-Tournament team recognition. In 1998 Michaud was named to the Hockey East All-Tournament team.

Following his graduation from the University of Maine in 1999, Michaud spent parts of 15 years as a goaltender in the professional ranks, including stints with the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks and the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch and Manitoba Moose.
After retiring from playing, Alfie was hired by the Arizona Coyotes to work with their AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates. After one year with the Pirates, Alfie went back to his Alma mater to be the goalie coach for the Maine Black Bears. After a year of goalie coach, Alfie was promoted to full-time assistant coach, which he has been doing for the last six seasons.

Nate Mitton

Assistant Coach | Brock University Men's Hockey


Dedication, commitment, passion, and purpose are four words that have described Mitton’s journey as a coach and athlete.

From an early age, sports and fitness have always been his passion. Mitton started playing organized hockey at a young age, learning the basics in the house league, growing through the minor hockey system, then progressing to the junior hockey level, followed by continuing to play collegiate hockey and receiving an education at Ontario Tech University. After graduating, he decided to pursue his childhood dream of playing professionally (2017-2020).

Transitioning from a player to a coach happened quite quickly, as he started coaching the U16AAA (2021) team in his area. Mitton then received the opportunity to begin as the Lead Assistant Coach for the Brock University Men’s Hockey Team (2022), where he is currently.

This journey has taken countless hours of training and a relentless underdog mindset – and could not have been achieved without great coaches and mentors along the way. They are the ones who have inspired him to give back and help encourage and inspire young athletes in the community.

Adam Nathwani

Video Coach | Coquitlam Express


Adam was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, and began coaching minor hockey shortly after playing at the collegiate level. He has been involved in elite amateur hockey for the past eight seasons, including working with the Coquitlam Express (BCHL) and Green Bay Gamblers (USHL).

His passion for analytics and technology in the sport led to his role as Head of Operations for Drive Hockey Analytics, a company developing player and puck-tracking technology similar to that found in the NHL but made specifically for amateur hockey development. Adam holds master’s degrees in Business Administration and Artificial Intelligence and leverages experience from a ten-year career in management consulting to building high-performing teams.

Adam is currently in his second season with the Coquitlam Express. His aim is to help players develop both on and off the ice, and he hopes to continue learning about the amazing sport of hockey.

Tim Ohashi

Video Analyst | Seattle Kraken


Tim Ohashi grew up in Washington, DC and went on to graduate from Brown University with a plan to become a middle school teacher. His plans changed when he suffered a serious injury, leaving him with nothing to do which is when he enrolled in sports management graduate classes at Georgetown University. This program fuelled his desire to get his foot in the door and started his career path to working in the NHL with the Washington Capitals and now the Seattle Kraken. In Washington, he worked under coach Barry Trotz who heavily relied on video as a coaching tool and provided Ohashi with the opportunity to work in the NHL. Ohashi recently became the first coaching hire for the Seattle Kraken, the newest expansion team in the NHL in fall of 2020.

Murat Pak

Head Coach | U9 Red Devils Bad Nauheim (Germany)


Murat is a retired Hockey and Inline Hockey Player from Germany with Turkic Origins. Grown up in Bad Nauheim/Germany, he is the Head Coach of a mixed U9 Team. When he is not on the Ice and working with kids you can find him in his Dental Clinic working as a Dental Surgeon

Rob Pambrun

Player Development & Sports Science Coach | Niverville Nighthawks


Rob Pambrun was announced as the first-ever Sports Science Coach in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and is currently working for the Niverville Nighthawks. He previously played junior A hockey in the MJHL for the Portage Terriers, the Southeast Blades, and the Winnipeg Saints. He suffered a career-ending knee injury and moved onto become a professional fitness consultant and trainer.

Rob is a performance and physique specialist and owns a global fitness consulting corporation known as Team Prep Starz. His knowledge and experience in the fitness industry have allowed him to work with many professional athletes, bodybuilders, and celebrities. Rob’s scientific approach to perfecting game day performance has been a major success with his hockey clients, including junior and professional players.

John Paris Jr.



John Paris Jr. was the first African-Canadian to coach in professional hockey, coaching the Atlanta Knights of the International Hockey League (IHL) in 1993/94. In his first season behind the bench, he led the team to a Turner Cup championship. Paris Jr. grew up in Windsor, Nova Scotia, and went on to play in the QMJHL, WHL, and AHL and skated in a few NHL exhibition games. After his playing career ended, he began coaching youth hockey and became the first black coach in the QMJHL history in 1987 with Trois Rivieres. Over the years, he has worked as a scout, head coach, and general manager in the QMJHL, CHL, IHL, WHL, and NHL.

Paris Jr. was inducted into the Nova Scotia Hall of Fame in 2005 and is also a certified sports psychologist.

Jason Payne

Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations | Cincinnati Cyclones


A native of Toronto, ON, Payne is entering his third season with the Cyclones and most recently was hired as the first black Head Coach in North American professional hockey. Payne is also the Director or Hockey Operations alongside his Head Coaching duties. During his two years with the Cyclones they have gone 89-30-16 including a regular season best 51-13-8 record in 2018-2019. Prior to coming to Cincinnati, he served as the Player Development coach of the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) as well as General Manager of the Georgetown Raiders of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). He also coached both the Toronto Patriots of the OJHL and the Mississauga Sens AAA program. Payne is also the owner of the Precision Skating School in Toronto where his program focuses on the key dynamics of skating, puck handling techniques, defensive tactics, and other game related skills. He has worked with all levels of hockey players – from pee wee all the way to professional players.

Rico L. Phillips

Director of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion | Ontario Hockey League


Rico L. Phillips serves the Ontario Hockey League as Director of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion since 2020. He is responsible for efforts towards positively transforming the culture within the sport of hockey throughout the OHL.

His journey in hockey started as an student athletic trainer in 1984 which lead him to learning how to skate and becoming a player, referee , coach and founder and executive director of the Flint Inner City Youth Hockey Program in 2010. The Program introduces children between the ages of 8-11 who reside in the City of Flint (MI) the game of ice hockey barrier-free. Rico’s grassroots programming work was featured in 2019 when he was awarded the prestigious Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award. Since then, he has taken the platform opportunity to collaborate with leaders at all levels of the sport. He also serves on the advisory board for grassroots initiatives with the Hockey Diversity Alliance .

Rico continues to referee high school hockey in Michigan for the past 35 seasons.

Rico is married to his wife Sandy and has 3 adult children and one grandchild.

Matt Pinchevsky

Head Coach & Director of Player Development | Maine Nordiques


Matt, who is also referred to as Pinch, is currently the Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel & Development of the Maine Nordiques in the North American Hockey League.

Entering his 13th year of coaching, Pinch has a strong passion for skill development and helping players progress on and off the ice. He has established many strong relationships over the years, coaching and training players that have gone on to have success as they climb the ladder. Former hockey students that have worked with Pinch have reached the NCAA D1, Major Junior, Minor-Pro, and NHL levels.

Player Development has always played a major role in his coaching experience; every player getting better is a priority for him. Over the years, Pinch has helped take part in the advancing of more than 100 student-athletes to NCAA hockey programs. Serving the game through guidance and mentorship is a daily objective for Pinch, and his passion for the game is always felt by those around him.

Prior to coaching in the NAHL, Pinchevsky has been fortunate to work with many successful groups, from AAA teams that make trips to USA Hockey Nationals to playoff-clinching Jr. teams in various leagues. During this time, Pinch also worked for Select Hockey and Legacy Global Sports, which provided the opportunity to coach internationally for ten years. Pinch also has a strong background in the Academy Hockey model; in fact, he and Eric Soltys, an amateur scout with the NHL’s Calgary Flames, were partners in building the foundation of the Selects Academy. Identifying and recruiting hockey talent and character has been a role involved in every step of his career.

Before the beginning of his coaching career, Pinch played his minor hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, MN, for the worldwide recognized hockey program. After Jr. A of hockey, he went on to play at the collegiate level and earned a Bachelor’s degree focused on Communication and Journalism from Curry College.

Pinch and his wife Katherine make Maine their home with their son Cole.

Paul-Arthur Plaisir

Assistant Coach | Culver Academies Prep


Paul Plaisir is in his 5th year as the U18/Prep Hockey Assistant Coach at Culver Academies in Culver Indiana. In addition to hockey at Culver, he is also and Anatomy & Physiology and a Wellness Education Instructor and serving as a dorm parent for three years. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Concordia University in Montreal. A former DIII hockey player at Lake Forest College before his transfer to Concordia, Paul has been coaching a variety of age groups at a highly competitive levels over the past 9 years. He aspires to open doors at the next level while building connections with fellow BIPOC coaches.

Kyle Prystupa

Skills & Development Coach | RISE Hockey


Born in Selkirk, Manitoba, Kyle holds First Nation status and is a proud band member of Berens River First Nation (MIIMIIWIZIIBIING, Treaty No.5).  He’s recently completed the national designation as a certified Hockey Canada Skills Coach. Kyle was awarded the 2021 Sport Manitoba/MASRC – Aboriginal Coach of the Year, the first skills coach to receive the honour. 

Kyle is hands-on with all RISE Hockey Development programs aimed to enhance technical skills, positional skills, game mentorship, off-ice athleticism, and growth mindset.  Working with all ages from U9-U15, but primarily focused with coaching and programming at the U18 AAA, Jr.A, Major Junior and University levels. Kyle also has experience providing individual skills coaching for players at the NHL/Professional level.

Kyle holds over fifteen years of elite hockey development leadership from Hockey Manitoba and Hockey Canada programs.  He offers a wealth of evaluation/scouting knowledge, proficiency with tactical skill analysis and correction, strong technical and situational skating development skills, plus capabilities with video and technology integrations. He’s well known for making a positive impact on players from all across Manitoba with a holistic hockey development approach and strong long-term athlete development principles.  

Also, an owner/operator of RISE Sport Test, Kyle has worked closely with a premier list of clients, including the Calgary Flames, Beantown Classic Showcase, WHL Prospect Combines/Okanagan Hockey Group, and the MJHL. Testing events have also included the likes of QMJHL US Showcase, QMJHL Gatorade Excellence Challenge, Hockey BC U-15 Provincial Camp, Western Prospects Showcase, and more.


  • Manager, Programming: Manitoba Junior Hockey League – 2020-Present
  • Chair, Junior Hockey: Hockey Manitoba Board of Directors – 2021-Present
  • Skills Support: University of Manitoba Bisons (Men) – 2022 (Summer & December Break)
  • Head On-Ice Testing: Calgary Flames, Development Camp & Rookie Training Camp – 2018, 2019
  • Director of Operations: U-17 Team Canada Black (Hockey Canada) – 2015 World U-17
  • Director of Operations: U-16 Team Manitoba (Hockey Manitoba) – 2011-2017 WHL Cup
  • General Manager: U-16 Team Manitoba (Male), Canada Games – 2015 Prince George
  • Director of Operations: U-18 Team Manitoba (Hockey Manitoba) – 2008-2011 National U-18
  • General Manager: U-18 Team Manitoba (Female), Canada Games – 2011 Halifax
  • Local Liaison: U-18 Team Canada Pre-Tournament Camp – 2016 Winnipeg (2016 IIHF Worlds)
  • Media Apprentice: Hockey Canada, National U-17 Program – 2014 World U-17
  • Team Services Chair: True North Sports + Entertainment Host Committee – 2011 World U-17
  • Director of Operations: MB High Performance 1 Coach Seminar – 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015

Nathan Robinson

Skills Coach | Leipzig Icefighters (Germany)


Nathan Robinson is a former professional hockey player who played seven games in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings and
Boston Bruins. Born on September 27, 1982, in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, Robinson began his hockey career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Belleville Bulls.

After playing several seasons in North America, Robinson decided to take his skills to Europe, where he played in five major European top leagues, including Germany, Finland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and England. He quickly became a fan favourite and was nominated twice for the DEL All-Star Game and won three German Championships.

Following his retirement as a player, Robinson turned his attention to coaching. He currently serves as an Athletic Coach for the Youth teams of the Leipzig Ice Fighters in Germany. He is known for his dedication to the sport and for instilling a strong work ethic and team spirit in his players.

Throughout his career, Robinson was known for his speed, skill, and tenacity on the ice, and he remains a respected figure in the world of ice hockey. His contributions to the sport have left a lasting impact on both sides of the Atlantic, and he continues to inspire young players to follow in his footsteps.

Matthias Rudder

Program Coordinator & Lead Instructor | Direction Hockey


Growing up, Matthias played hockey in the GTHL at the AA and AAA levels for the Leaside Flames and Don Mills Flyers. Following his graduation from Wilfrid Laurier University with an honors bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, Matthias pursued his passion to get into the world of coaching. In 2019, he became an assistant coach for the 2008 Don Mills Flyers team. Matthias spent the summer of 2018 as an intern at TSN, and in 2019 was hired as a story editor for the company. During his time at TSN, Matthias received a behind-the-scenes view of the sports media market and wrote scripts for highlight packages on SportsCenter.

In 2021 he expanded his knowledge of the sports landscape by receiving honors in a Post Graduate Sports Business Management Degree from Humber College.

Matthias currently is the program coordinator and lead instructor for Direction Hockey, a hockey school located in Toronto. Working with players at the AAA – AA level between U9 and U15. He is also the head instructor for Seaside Hockey, a registered non-profit that looks ‘to provide assistance to visible minority youths in the GTA community to play hockey by removing financial barriers’.

David Singh

Assistant Coach | Concordia University Women's Hockey


David is a member of the Concordia Stingers coaching staff. He also works with the NHL as an off-ice official in Montreal. He has had the chance to coach at the collegiate, elite, and minor league levels. He has attended the Canada Games in 2019 and will be returning in 2023. He has also officiated hockey and soccer at the semi-professional level. He is also a Match Director for Major League Soccer during the summer months. He has had the privilege to work as an official at the 2010 Olympics, 2015 and 2016 IIHF World Juniors, FIFA Woman’s World Cup and most recently the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He has a passion for teaching and learning the game from his various interactions at all levels of play. He is thankful to have the chance to work with very knowledgeable coach’s at Concordia on a regular basis. David’s involvement with the NHLCA’s BIPOC program is an important step in his development. He hopes to grow his experience and eventually work full time at the professional level.

Rocky Thompson

Assistant Coach | Philadelphia Flyers


Rocky Thompson, joins the Flyers after spending the 2020-21 season as an Associate Coach for the San Jose Sharks under Bob Boughner’s staff.

Prior to joining the Sharks, Thompson was the Head Coach of the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League for three seasons from 2017-20. He compiled a 113-71-29 record in 213 regular season games and a 12-13 mark in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

He had his best season behind the bench in 2018-19, when he went 44-22-10 in the regular season and led the Wolves to the Calder Cup Finals.

Thompson also served as an Assistant Coach in the Edmonton Oilers organization for five seasons. He spent four seasons with the club’s AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, from 2010-14 before moving on the following season to the Oilers in 2014-15.

Thompson earned his first head coaching position in the Ontario Hockey League with the Windsor Spitfires from 2015-17. He recorded a mark of 81-40-15 in 136 games.

A native of Calgary, Alberta, Thompson played 10 seasons of professional hockey, which included 25 games in the National Hockey League with the Flames (1997-99) and Florida Panthers (2000-02).

He is a veteran of 566 games over parts of 10 seasons in the AHL with the Saint John Flames (1995-00), Louisville Panthers (1999-01), Hershey Bears (2001-02), San Antonio Rampage (2002-03), Toronto Roadrunners (2003-04), Edmonton Roadrunners (2004-05) and Peoria Rivermen (2005-07).

Thompson was drafted by the Flames in the third round (72nd overall) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.

Graeme Townshend

President | Townshend Hockey Skating Systems


A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Graeme Townshend also served as captain of the men’s hockey team. Upon graduation, Townshend enjoyed a 10 year professional playing career which included the NHL, AHL and IHL. During his career Townshend averaged 20 goals per season while competing in over 650 professional games. Townshend went on to coach 11 years professionally in the CHL, ECHL and NHL. He currently operates Townshend Hockey Skating Systems which offers a series of youth boarding hockey camps in New England.

Seth Van Voorhis

Assistant Coach | Hilbert College Women's Hockey


Van Voorhis joined Hilbert College Women’s Hockey as an Assistant Coach before the start of the 2022-23 academic year. His positive energy and impressive work ethic will help lift the Hawks on day one when they begin practicing in October. Van Voorhis brings 12 years of hockey coaching experience to the Hawks with stops at both the collegiate and high school levels.

Most recently Van Voorhis was the associate head coach for the University at Buffalo men’s ACHA D1 program. Previously he coached with West Seneca East High School, Orchard Park High School, the Southtowns Stars, Dippin’ Dots youth hockey, and the Center State Stampede. Additionally, he was the video replay coordinator for Colgate University’s men’s and women’s hockey program.

Sam Uisprapssorn

Head Coach | Chapman University & Hockey Columbia


Sam Uisprapassorn is a Southern California native and son of a Thai father and Colombian mother. From a young age playing youth and Junior hockey, he has displayed commitment and a clear passion for the sport. Sam’s coaching career started on the bench coaching southern California’s youth for five years, helping develop players while inspiring them to love the game of hockey.

Sam went on to help establish his alma mater, Chapman University, as an American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) DII program. Under Sam’s leadership, Chapman University won the 2016 California Collegiate Hockey League Championship. Sam continues to oversee both on ice and off ice initiatives as Chapman University enters its 12th season in the ACHA.

With his mom a native of Colombia, Sam has spent the last seven years helping the country build its national ice hockey program with the infrastructure as well as the talent. Since 2015, Sam has served as Head Coach of the Colombian National Ice Hockey team, guiding them to five tournament championships with the most recent being the 2022 IIHF Development Cup played in Fussen, Germany. Sam is also responsible for developing and implementing hockey programming for players and coaches of the 10U-12U-18U and 20U Hockey Colombia teams.

Sam is a stabilizing force when adversity is encountered and has pushed past boundaries to move hockey forward. He

Sam holds a BA from Chapman University in Public Relations and Advertising. He currently resides in Costa Mesa, California with his wife Cara and their three children Chloe, Sloane and Banks.

Claude Vilgrain

Head Coach | AMP Hockey Academy


  • Born: March 1, 1963 Port-au-Prince Haïti
  • Was raised in Quebec City, Quebec
  • He played in 89 NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils, and Philadelphia Flyers.
  • Participated in the 1988 Calgary Olympics
  • Played 7 years in Pro leagues in Germany and Switzerland
  • Won Two Spengler Cups with Team Canada in Davos Switzerland in 1995 and 1996
  • Went to the University of Moncton NB in Business Management.
  • Presently Distributor for Jambette a Playground manufacturer and does hockey skills development.
  • Coach for 14 seasons at various level from U15 to Junior level.
  • Presently with AMP Academy as a Head Coach
  • Also is involved in different Charities with the NHPLA.
  • Married has two children.
  • Resides in Calgary

Joel Ward

Assistant Coach | Henderson Silver Knights


The Silver Knights announced on November 23, 2020 that Joel Ward was hired as an assistant coach. Ward announced his retirement from the NHL in April 2020. His role with HSK will be his first job coaching professionally.

In an NHL career that spanned 11 seasons, Ward developed a reputation as a reliable two-way forward. In the 2009-10 season with the Predators, Nashville was 21-3-2 when Ward had a point. He had two 20-goal seasons: One with the Capitals in 2013-14 and one with the Sharks in 2015-16. Throughout his career he played in a total of 726 games for Minnesota, Nashville, Washington and San Jose. He was also selected to represent Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Championship, where he notched nine points (6G, 3A) in eight games played.

Ward’s playing career included games played in the NHL, AHL, and WCHL, as well as Canadian university hockey and the Ontario Hockey League. Ward was named the CIS Most Valuable Player in 2005 and the Most Sportsmanlike Player in consecutive years in 2004 and 2005.

Eli Wilson

Owner | Eli Wilson Goaltending


With over 20 years as a full-time goaltending coach, Eli is known worldwide as one of the leading minds in goaltending coaching and development. His no nonsense approach to coaching has resonated worldwide across the goaltending community. He has worked with over 30 goaltenders in the NHL, many of them since their minor hockey days.

Eli has coached and developed over 200 WHL goaltenders. He has worked as a goaltending coach for the Ottawa Senators (NHL), Syracuse Crunch (AHL), Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL), Vancouver Giants (WHL), and most recently the Tri-City Americans (WHL). Under Eli’s tutelage, goaltenders have gone on to win numerous prestigious awards and championships: Stanley Cups, Conn Smythe Trophies, Vezina Trophies, World Junior Gold Medals, American Hockey League (AHL) championships, AHL Playoff MVPs, WHL Goaltender of the Year, Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Goaltender of the Year, and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Goaltender of the Year.

Today, Eli Wilson Goaltending is a world leader in goaltending development. Eli runs goaltending camps, clinics, and consults worldwide. The primary focus at Eli’s camps is to ensure that the goaltending position is taught as simply as possible by utilizing basic systems for all game situations. All drills are applied in a well thought out order to ensure maximum improvement for the goaltender. The terms used during instruction are simplistic and self-explanatory to avoid any confusion. Video analysis is used for all on ice sessions to provide instant feedback and review for the goaltenders. All aspects of Eli’s camps are of the absolute highest quality. Professional coaches, paid shooters, and dedicated off-ice trainers all make up the staff that provides the premium experience in goaltending development.

Eli is also the author of his best-selling book, Hockey Goaltending. In it, Eli shares his training methodology and provides practice drills that are now utilized by coaches at all levels of hockey.

Perry Wilson

Goaltending Coach | Windsor Lancers


Perry Wilson was born on June 23rd, 1960 in Truro Nova Scotia and moved to Ontario in 1970. He graduated from Forster Secondary School in 1978 and started working at the Chrysler Corporation in 1979. Following his passion for hockey, he started coaching the varsity Women’s team at the University of Windsor in 1998. In 2008, he retired from his job at Chrysler to pursue a career in hockey and in 2009, he attended the very first Goaltending Coach Program of Excellence. In 2010, he won the first of 5 gold medals with the U18, U22 and the Senior Women’s programs and in 2012, he was on the staff for two World titles. He was invited to start the development process in New Zealand in 2013 and after 2 months of development, he began working with their National teams. In 2017, he realized his dream was to work with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League as the team’s goaltending coach. In 2018, he moved over to coach the Men’s U17 program with Hockey Canada.

Perry continues to help develop goalies in the Windsor area while also working with A-21 prep school. He has two daughters and 4 grandsons!

Davis Yoo

Coach | North York Knights 2008 AA


Davis is a hockey coach in the GTHL in Toronto.  After playing competitive youth hockey during his younger years, he developed the coaching “bug” while volunteering as an assistant coach and skating instructor for a PeeWee rep team in London, Ontario while studying at Western University.  Almost 30 years later, Davis is still behind the bench, running on-ice and off-ice programs, and learning more about the game than he teaches.  He has had the pleasure of working with some amazing coaches from across the globe (including a few NHLCA members) and remains very passionate about youth competitive hockey.
Davis also takes the time to fundraise and volunteer to help make hockey more accessible and economically feasible in the Greater Toronto Area.