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Coaching Staff

2017-18 Coaches

The RHC is pleased to announce the commitments of the following coaching staff for the 2017-18 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 U18

Head Coach - Matt Keiffer  - This will be Matt’s 7th year coaching for RHC. Prior to coaching Matt played youth hockey for RHC. He also won three State Championships with the Rockford Icemen. Following high school he 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 he coached his Pee Wee team to a second place finish in the AHAI State Championship.

Assistant Coach - Jake Hobby  - Jake grew up playing for the RHC from mite all the way through bantam.  He was a part of the elite Jr. Icemen summer program throughout his hockey career.  Jake is a two time all conference football player for Stillman Valley, as well an all-conference baseball player both his junior and senior seasons.  After high school Jake joined the U.S. Army where he graduated with honors from the Army School of Engineering.  Jake served in Iraqi Operation Freedom & Enduring Freedom. He has received two Medals of Commendation (ARCOM) from the U.S. Army for distinguished heroism, meritorious achievement & meritorious service.  The RHC is incredibly fortunate to be able to have an individual like Jake coaching within our program.  Jake is a phenomenal role model to all players within the RHC and we are excited to have him back for a third season.

Assistant Coach – Brett Nagel  - Brett comes back to the RHC this season after coaching for over six seasons with the RHC & the Jr. Icehogs.  Before Coaching he played his youth hockey for RHC as well playing for the Rockford Icemen.  While playing for the Icemen Brett was named MVP his senior year and won 2 state championships.  Brett is a level 4 USA Hockey Coach.

Assistant Coach – Zach Smith  - Zach comes back to RHC for his second season of coaching.  Prior to coaching he grew up skating for RHC and went on to win four State Championships with the Rockford Icemen.  During his senior season Zach scored over 100 points and was name team MVP.  Zach is a great talent to have coaching within RHC and we are thrilled to have him back.  Zach is a Level 2 USA hockey Coach.

Bantam AA: 

Head Coach – Tim Mattila - Tim is originally from San Bernardino, California and moved to Sun Prairie, Wisconsin in 1969, where he was introduced to ice hockey. Tim has more than 25 years of hockey experience. Tim was part of the very first varsity high school hockey team in Sun Prairie in 1974. He Played hockey at semi-professional level for Janesville Jets during 1981-1982. Tim Head coached the Rockford High School hockey team, which became Icemen in 1991. Tim coached the Icemen to 16 state championships. He also coached several all-star teams and ran many off-season camps. A 2-time All State coach, Tim is a Level 5 Master Level USA Hockey coach. Tim also served as interim coach for the Rockford IceHogs.

Assistant Coach – 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.

Bantam A:

Head Coach – Brett Stewart - Brett grew up playing in RHC throughout his entire hockey career.  After playing for RHC Brett made the Rockford Icemen as a true freshmen and won 2 state championships for coach Matilla as well played in the USA Hockey National Championships during his junior year. After graduating high school from Rockford Lutheran Brett joined the Army National Guard.  While still being involved with National Guard Brett was able to begin his coaching career with the Rockford Icemen, where he coached under coaches Matilla & Niday.  Brett joins RHC this year as a level 3 coach and is looking forward to helping develop players at the bantam level.

Assistant Coach – Joe Mazzuca - RHC is pleased to add Joe to its coaching staff this season.  Joe played for RHC from squirt through high school. Joe was the captain his U16 team and assistant captain with the U18 team.  Joe brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to RHC and is a role model for kids growing up in the program.

Assistant Coach – Cole Runkel Cole joins RHC again this season. In previous years Cole has represented RHC as our In-House Coordinator.  Cole grew up playing for RHC and went on to an outstanding career with the Rockford Icemen.  While playing for the Icemen he won two state championships and was the captain during the 2013 season where the U18 team played in the USA Hockey National Championships.  Cole has also worked and coached for the Jr. Icehogs since 2011.

Pee Wee AA:

Head Coach - Alex Edwards - This will be Alex’s 4th 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 comes back for his second year with RHC 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.

Pee Wee A:

Head Coach - David Nagel - David has coached multiple teams during his time with the organization and continues to develop players of all skill levels.  Prior to coaching, he 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, he 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. RHC is thrilled to have David back for another season.

Assistant Coach – Eric Larson - This will be Eric's 4th year coaching for RHC. 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.

Assistant Coach – Will Runkel - Will joins RHC for his first season as a coach.  Prior to this year Will grew up playing in the RHC since he was a mite.  After RHC, Will joined the Rockford Icemen where he won 3 state championships, one of them being the first ever at the JV/U16 level.  After high school Will attended Western Illinois University where he received a Bachelors in Emergency Management.  Will has also be an instructor with the Jr. Icehogs program for 9 years. 

Squirt AA

Head Coach - 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.

Assistant Coach - Kyle Harris - Kyle has been an assistant coach with the Rockford hockey club for over 6 years. Prior to coaching Kyle played high school hockey for the Rockford Icemen and won two State Championships. Following high school Kyle played hockey for Northern Illinois University in the ACHA. Kyle has earned his USA Hockey Level 4 Coaching certification in June 2017. During the 2014-2015, Kyle was an assistant for the Pee Wee team that placed 2nd in the AHAI State Championship

Assistant Coach - Eric Brown Eric comes back to RHC for his third season coaching.  Prior to coaching Eric grew up playing for RHC as well the Madison Capitals AAA program.  After high school, he went on to play at Illinois State University where he became the all-time leading goal scorer & all-time leading point leader in ISU history. Eric has also worked in the Jr. Icehogs program for the last 5 years. Eric is a level 3 USA hockey coach. ->

Squirt A 2

Head Coach - Matt Nagel - Matt returns to RHC again this year to head coach at the Squirt level. Prior to last 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.

Assistant Coach - Austin Larson - This will be Austin's second 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.

Assistant Coach – Jon PirrieJon, who is originally from Stevens Point, WI joins the hockey club for his second year of coaching.  Prior to coaching Jon played most of his youth hockey in Wisconsin and made Stevens Point’s High School varsity team as a true freshmen.  Prior to Jon’s junior year of high school he and his family moved to Rockford where he joined the Icemen and helped in reaching their 16th State Championship. Jon, who was voted all-state his senior season help the Icemen to its first USA Hockey National Championship. RHC is thrilled to have Jon involved in the program and knows his passion for the game will be seen through the players he coaches

Squirt A 3

Head Coach – Josh Niday - Josh has coached the Rockford Icemen for the past three seasons. He was Assistant Coach of the JV Icemen and the NIHL U18 Midget major teams during the 2013 season. The following season he stepped in as the Head Coach of both teams. In the 2016-2017 season he was the head coach of the NIHL U18 Midget Major team. Prior to coaching Josh worked as Assistant Hockey Director for the JR Ice hogs hockey program. He grew up playing roller hockey for most of his life, winning two Junior Olympic Gold Medals at the ages of 12 and 18. Josh is a Level 4 USA hockey coach.

Assistant Coach – Brian Moore - This will be Brian’s first year coaching with RHC.  Prior to this season Brian coached with the Rockford Icemen for past three seasons.  Before coaching Brian grew up playing for RHC and won a state championship with the Icemen.  After high school Brian went on to play junior hockey in the WSHL & the NA3HL. Brian also recruits for Augustana College in the ACHA.

Assistant Coach – Brandon "Igor" Haight - This will be Brandon’s “Igor” 9th year coaching for RHC. Prior to coaching he played youth hockey for RHC. Following high school he was an assistant coach for the Marquette Firefighters Bantam A team. During the 2014-2015 season he coached his JV Icemen team to an AHAI State Championship. He is a USA hockey level 4 coach. RHC is excited to have “Igor” returning as a coach and know that he will bring with him a vast amount of knowledge and passion for the game.

Anyone with questions regarding coaching for RHC should contact Jon Larson at JON-LARSON@COMCAST.NET