Hamilton Huskies Hockey Club announces U18 AAA Operations and Coaching Staff, News (Hamilton Huskies)

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Hamilton Huskies Hockey Club announces U18 AAA Operations and Coaching Staff
Submitted By Web Admin on Saturday, May 9, 2020
The Hamilton Huskies are back in the game. After a five-year absence, the Huskies U18 AAA team will take to the ice for the 2020-21 season.

The Huskies organization got the news last week that the Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario had approved their application to rejoin the U18 AAA loop (formerly called Major Midget), in which the team last competed during the 2015-16 campaign.



Hamilton Huskies Hockey Club announces U18 AAA Operations and Coaching Staff

President of Operations - Mike Spadafora
General Manager - Dan Wood
Director of player development - Jeff Toole
Director of Operations - Brian Holloway
Director of Finance - Jodi Heene-Kielb
Head Coach - Ryan Tocher
Assistant Coach - John Barrett

It was the culmination of months of determined effort by Huskies’ general manager Mike Spadafora, director of player development Jeff Toole and U18 team general manager Dan Wood.

They spearheaded the drive to resurrect the illustrious Huskies U18 franchise, which boasts a tradition going back more than 40 years and produced such luminaries as NHLers Dave Andreychuk, Ric Nattress and Steve Staios.

"The organization has high expectations and plans to operate in a professional manner with the emphasis on player development and competitive excellence" said Wood, a veteran presence on the Hamilton hockey scene who is also a scout for the Ontario Hockey League’s Central Scouting Bureau.

“Over the past several years, players coming through the Huskies programs have had to migrate elsewhere” after their U16 season, said Brian Holloway, the team’s operations manager, whose main task will be to help assess and assemble hockey talent. “The Huskies feel it is our responsibility to assist these young men in continuing to develop and reach their goals. Our long-term intent is to establish a program that will provide a positive environment to attract players” from Hamilton and the greater Niagara area.

To achieve that, long-time Huskies administrators Spadafora, Toole and Wood, who has also served as head scout for the Ancaster Avalanche Jr. Bs and as assistant general manager for the Glanbrook Rangers Jr. Cs, have assembled an organization deep in hockey knowledge and committed to providing the players with the best possible hockey and life experience.

The coaching staff is headed by Ryan Tocher, himself a Huskies grad, who, after a five-year OHL career, was selected by the Quebec Nordiques in the 4 th round of the 1993 NHL Draft. Tocher also played at Brock University and saw action in the ECHL and WCHL before finishing his playing career with the senior league Dundas Real McCoys.

Tocher’s coaching resume is equally notable. He joined the Ancaster Avalanche Jr. Bs in 2015 and was a key deputy to current OHL coaches Ryan Kuwabara and Ken Peroff. During his tenure with the Avs, Tocher’s honest and fair style helped more than 25 of his players achieve their hockey goals by moving on to the OHL, NCAA and other advanced leagues. Since 2016, he’s coached minor hockey and advanced his knowledge through participation in local developmental opportunites such as Kuwabara’s Hockey Farm/Warrior Selects and Team Turek Hockey, run by Montreal Canadiens scout and Hamilton Bulldogs Director, Player Personnel Matt Turek. 

Tocher says he’s proud to be a part of the re-launch of U18 hockey with the Huskies organization. Joining him on the Huskies’ bench will be assistant coach John Barrett.

Barrett has more than a decade of coaching experience and was bench boss of the Hamilton Kilty Bs (formerly the Ancaster Avalanche) last season after a three-year stint as assistant coach. Prior to that, he spent three years as an assistant with the Paris Mounties Jr. C squad, winning a championship in 2014. Barrett played AAA hockey for six years before going on to earn a business degree in sports administration from Laurentian University and working with the Sudbury Wolves, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. “Our main focus will be the individual growth of each player,” said Barrett. “We want to establish a culture of excellence and accountability while icing an extremely competitive team. “

Rounding out the staff is Brian Holloway, the operations manager, who retired in 2016 from a corporate management career in which he worked for a major Canadian firm in Montreal, Winnipeg and Toronto, and as national operations manager for a Swiss company, after which he became general manager of the Ancaster Avalanche Jr. Bs and head scout for the Glanbrook Rangers Jr. Cs.
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