The RHC is pleased to announce the commitments of the following coaching staff for the 2016-17 season. We have, without question, one of the finest coaching staffs in the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin region.
Hockey Director: Jon Larson - Jon coached for RHC for 6 years before taking on the Hockey Director position. Previously, Jon worked with players at numerous levels throughout the club. Jon also assisted Coach Matilla at the midget and varsity levels for two seasons assisting them to a State Championship and a third place finish at the USA Hockey National Championships. Prior to coaching for RHC, Jon played Jr. A Hockey for the Kenai River Brown Bears of the North American Hockey League. Jon also played AAA Hockey for the Chicago Mission from 2004-2007. Jon is a USA Hockey Level 5 coach.
Midget Major and Varsity Head Coach: Tim Mattila - Tim returns as Midget Major and Varsity Head Coach for the Rockford Icemen and is a level 5 coach. Tim's hockey coaching accomplishments include 16 out of 19 Illinois Combined State Titles and over 900 wins at the high school/midget level.
Midget Minor and JV Head Coach: Josh Niday
Head Coach - Frank Casalena - Frank has over 20 years of coaching experience and has coached the RHC's Bantam AA team for the past 16 years and is a level 5 coach. Prior to coaching for RHC, Frank coached for the Kenosha Komets youth hockey club. Frank’s coaching philosophy is on skill development and believes that doing the little things right is what separates the elite players. His Bantam teams compete favorably in the NIHL Elite Division winning 2 Presidents Cups as well as reaching the NIHL Championship game 4 times and winning it all twice. Frank played his high school hockey at Fond du Lac St. Mary Springs Academy and Junior hockey in the USHL for the Junior A National Champions, Dubuque Fighting Saints.
Assistant Coach - Jake Stima
Head Coach - Tim Grudecki - This will be Tim’s 5th year with RHC. Prior to coaching for RHC, Tim spent two years with the Cyclones, two years with Jr. Ice Hogs and 3 years as Head Coach for the Geneva High School team where he was also chosen to be the league’s All-Star Team head coach. Tim is currently a level 4 coach, but will complete and receive his level 5 certification this summer in St. Louis. Tim has always had a love for the game as he played youth hockey for what is now the Geneva Cyclones Club and also for St. Charles Saints High School.
Assistant Coach - Bill Laskonis
Pee Wee AA:
Head Coach - David Nagel - David returns to the RHC for his 6th season as head coach. David has coached multiple teams during his time with the organization and continues to develop players of all skill levels. Prior to coaching, David played Junior hockey for the Chicago Force and the Dubuque Thunderbirds in the USHL. David won 4 state championships with the Rockford Icemen and led his team in points his senior season. In his youth hockey years, Coach Nagel played AAA hockey for the Madison Capitols and Team Illinois. David’s vision for the game and ability to teach players at the youth levels goes above and beyond and RHC is thrilled to have David back for another season.
Assistant Coach - Matt Keiffer - This will be Matt’s 6th year coaching for RHC. Prior to coaching Matt played youth hockey for RHC. Matt also won three State Championships with the Rockford Icemen. Following high school Matt played four years at Northern Illinois University in the ACHA. While coaching for RHC, Matt has earned his USA Hockey Level 5 Coaching certification. During the 2014-2015 season Matt coached his Pee Wee team to a second place finish in the AHAI State Championship.
Assistant Coach - Jake Hoby
Pee Wee A:
Head Coach - Alex Edwards - This will be Alex’s third season with RHC. Prior to this season, Alex coached squirt teams in the CSDHL and the NIHL. Prior to coaching, Alex played youth hockey for RHC and won 3 state championships with the Rockford Icemen where he was also the captain. After his career with the Icemen, Alex attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he played four seasons winning two MACHA championships and 3 ACHA regional final appearances.
Assistant Coach - Jeff Costello - Jeff joins RHC for his first season this year. Jeff, who is originally from Wisconsin, played hockey at the University of Norte Dame where he played four years and was captain of the team. During Jeff’s freshmen season at Notre Dame, the Irish reach the NCAA Frozen Four. Jeff was also drafted into the NHL by the Ottawa Senators in the fifth round of the 2009 Draft. Following college Jeff signed with the Tampa Bay Lighting and played professional hockey with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch and the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. Jeff also played 2 seasons in the USHL with the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders.
Assistant Coach - Matt Nagel - Matt returns to RHC this year to help coach at the Pee Wee level. Prior to this season Matt was the assistant coach for the Illinois State Red Birds DII & DIII teams from 2013-2016. Matt also coached the Pee Wee AA team in the Bloomington Youth Hockey Organization for 3 seasons. Prior to coaching Matt played youth hockey for RHC and won 3 state championships with the Rockford Icemen.
Squirt AA & A Coaches (actual team assignments will be announced after tryouts in September):
Oak Hewer - Oak has been coaching for RHC since 2011. Oak has more than 20 years of hockey experience. Oak played Major Jr. Hockey in the OHL for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and North Bay Centennials. In 1998 Oak was drafted in the NHL to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 7th round. Oak moved to Rockford in 2001 and played 2 seasons with the Rockford IceHogs. After his playing career, Oak began coaching at numerous levels for RHC and for the Jr. Ice Hogs through the Rockford Park District. Last year Oak was one of the assistant coaches of RHC’s Pee Wee CSDHL team that was ranked #1 in the country.
Eric Larson - This will be Eric's third year coaching for Rockford Hockey Club. He is a USA Hockey Level 3 coach. Before coaching Eric played high school hockey for the Rockford Icemen where won 3 state championships and was the captain his senior season. After high school Eric went on to play college hockey for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he won two MACHA championships and made 3 ACHA regional final appearances with his team.
Austin Larson - This will be Austin's first year coaching for RHC. Previously, Austin was involved as a tournament coordinator with the Jr. Ice Hogs. As a youth player, Austin played six seasons with RHC and won a state championship with the Rockford Icemen. During Austin’s junior year, while attending Rockford Boylan, he won the IHSA Class 7A state championship while playing football.
Anyone with questions regarding coaching for RHC should contact Jon Larson at JON-LARSON@COMCAST.NET