OUR COACHES & SUPPORT STAFF

The AK Grizzlies coaching and support staff is the lifeblood of the organization and has a demonstrated history of attracting high character and knowledgeable personnel to assist, train, and launch our athletes. The Grizzlies pride themselves on our proven coaching education certification process administered through USA Hockey and its affiliates that allow our coaches to be among some of the brightest young minds in the game. This year's group of coaches consist of former players from Tier 1, Junior, and Division 1 hockey programs. We know that in order to be the best, you must be trained by the best - that means off the ice too. Our support staff including team managers, treasurers and off ice training specialists are carefully selected based on knowledge and expertise. We do all this in order to ensure your athlete has the best chance of growing in the game of hockey and beyond this year.

10U AA Major

Dirk Menard - Head Coach

UAF Hockey alumni Dirk Menard has been coaching youth athletes in Fairbanks for the better part of the last decade. A pillar of the community and the Fairbanks hockey family (local dentistry Nanook Dental is owned and operated by Menard), Dirk started giving back to the sport he loves around the 2010 season. Officially signing up and starting his trek through the USA Hockey certificate system in 2013, Dirk now is a Level 4 certified hockey coach through USA Hockey and has traveled around the state and continuous US leading teams of all ages into battle against out of state competition. Menard and his bride have called Fairbanks home for the past 20 plus years and have two athletes – Charlie and Frederick – growing up in the game of hockey.
(CEP# 420048 LVL 4)

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10U A

Jason Huffaker - Head Coach

Coach Huffaker begins his 6th year coaching youth hockey in Fairbanks serving as Head Coach or Assistant Coach on 14 different teams over that span. The opportunity to grow and learn from different coaches over the last half decade has given Jason a unique development path that has allowed him to quickly become one the city's premiere bench bosses. Now a Level 4 coaching certificate holder, Coach Huffaker uses fundamentals as the basis of his coaching philosophy and drags that same mantra with him off the ice. A legendary dryland coach, Jason uses that foundation off the ice to instill in his athletes the important of taking care of your body in regards to peak performance standards on the ice. A member of local 375 and the Ibew 1547 - Huffaker has owned a business,  built his house, and been a sponsored skate boarder. Born and raised in Fairbanks, Jason is the epitome of Alaska and uses that foundation to prep his athletes for the big lights and big dreams that start at the 10U level.
(CEP# 453104 LVL 4)

12U A

Ben Wolfe - Head Coach

Coach Wolfe has been in and around the Fairbanks hockey scene for the better part of two decades or more. First registered as a certified coach in the 90’s, Benjamin uses a perfect blend of old school hockey expertise and new age tactics and knowledge that prepares his athletes with the right tools for success in today’s hockey environment. A former advanced level hockey player and alumni himself here in Fairbanks, Coach Wolfe knows the community, it’s opportunities, and how to prep athletes for the next level of play. Coach Wolfe has coached many teams through highly successful seasons and will bring that experience to this team.
(CEP# 471820 LVL 4)

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14U A

John Slater - Head Coach

Coach Slater has more than 20 years coaching experience in the Fairbanks area, at both competitive and recreational league levels. First donning the whistle in 1997 with the Alaska Ice Breakers girls’ program, he remained with the organization through the 2004 season before taking a short break and returning to coaching in 2007. A Level 4 Coach through USA Hockey's strict certificate regime, Coach Slater can often be seen at the rinks he grew up playing in himself (John is a '94 North Pole High school hockey letterman) guiding and mentoring youth athletes including his own two hockey playing sons - William and Robert. For the Slater family, hockey is life. Residing in North Pole, Coach Slater's involvement in Fairbanks area hockey also includes his role as Vice President for the Fairbanks Men’s Hockey Association, Advanced Division.  John’s passion for hockey, creating enjoyment, and seeing players improve throughout the season is his biggest goal.  John’s experience, knowledge and unique ability to see what some can’t see in themselves will surely lead this team to success this season.
(CEP# 26654 LVL 4)

16U A

Mike Rogers - Head Coach

A military kid growing up, Head Coach Mike Rogers moved around a lot when he was young. It was in those formative years meeting new peers and experiencing new environments that built the foundation for communication he now uses as a linchpin within his coaching philosophy. A philosophy that has propelled his teams to two recent State Championship appearances at the 14U level and a USA Hockey National tournament bid. A high school hockey letterman, Mike is a Level 4 certified coach through USA Hockey and boasts a trophy case full of tournament wins from leadership of both boys and girls teams over his 20+ year coaching resume. A relentless relationship builder, Coach Rogers believes successful hockey players come from a large circle of support on and off the ice including teammate, parents, and hockey support staff. The circle of support it true of his own hockey family – 3 children total – who are all experiencing success on the ice at the comp level.
(CEP# 227647 LVL 4)

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6U

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8U

Being a coach can be a rewarding and fruitful experience for you and your young athlete. Having the chance to positively effect the mental, physical, and emotional development can bear fruit long after the athlete has completed their youth hockey experience. If you would like to be one of the few who have the chance to pour into the lives and development of the next great wave of hockey athletes, we'd love to have you.

BECOME A GRIZZLIES COACH

For Season Play, Destination Tournaments, and/or Summer Season & Camps - new and returning coaches must complete the following in order:

  1. USA Hockey Registration (Must be renewed every year for the upcoming season).  Select to register with USA Hockey.
  2. USA Hockey SafeSport Training (Certification required every two years).  Select to register for SafeSport training.
  3. USA Hockey National Background Screening (Screening is good for two years; must reapply if expiration date is this year) Select to complete USA Hockey Background Screening.
  4. Send proof of completion of requirements to Club Registrar.  Select to send documentation to Grizzlies Registrar.
  5. Complete the Grizzlies Online Coaching Application (Have the aforementioned requirements available to enter during the online application process).  Select to begin the Coaching Application.

In addition, coaches are required to obtain the needed CEP level certification and complete the online age-specific modules by Dec. 31st of the current season.  All coaches that need a Level 1 CEP, or are up for renewal this season, will need to use the link to the right to sign up for a clinic.  Coaches can continue to coach as long as they register to complete a CEP course before the date outlined above.

USA Hockey's website allows users to search the list of scheduled coaching clinics in order to locate a clinic near them.  The online age-specific modules can only be completed after attending the coaching clinic.

RETURNING COACHES

USA Hockey and the Coaching Education Program require both certification and registration to be eligible to coach. Registration is done online on a yearly basis. Certification is also required. A few basic steps requirements are as follows:

  • Coaching Education Program Online Age-Specific module Requirements (Must be completed PRIOR to participating in any team activities and cannot be added to a roster until completed) 
  • USA Hockey Requirements (Must be completed before participating in any team activities) 
  • Register as a member of USA Hockey (Cost is $40 plus any affiliate fees if applicable).
  • Complete the background screening (required every two years)) A coach (cannot be added to a roster until
    completed).
  • Complete the USA Hockey Safe Sport Training (required every two years) and (cannot be added to a roster until completed).
  • Coaches Concussion Training (Concussion Training is good for 2 years)
  • Effective for 2019-20 Hockey Season prior to any team activity participation. https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/youthsports/training/index.html
  • Requires Coaches to certify through certification form that they have had training for concussions each year.
  • See attached forms for details regarding certification, medical clearance to play after concussion, etc. These will be on the EHA Coach Tab.
  • Coaching Education Program Certification Clinic Requirements (Must be completed by Dec. 31) 
  • Find, register and attend the required certification clinic. (Cost is $45 plus any lunch fees if applicable) You can only attend one clinic per season and all coaches start at Level 1. (The coaching clinic season for Levels 1-3 officially runs from September 1 to December 31). http://www.usahockey.com/coachingclinics

All Grizzlies coaches have the resources and support of some of the brightest hockey minds in Fairbanks, AK through our coaching development program. Whether you're an ex NHL'er or Division 1 letterman - All the way to a parent wanting to spend more time with their athlete helping - the Grizzlies organization takes pride in developing coaches for all desired results. Current coaches can see where they stand with certification requirements when they register or check in with USA Hockey annually as they move through the certification process. Your record shows both modules completed and Safesport verification. Safesport needs to be renewed every 2 years. All coaches must adhere to the Coaching Education Program guidelines. The standard requires you to attend one clinic every year for Levels 1-3. In order to help with the certification process, we've listed the following FAQ's for coaching requirements.

WHAT LEVEL CERTIFICATION DO I NEED TO COACH THIS YEAR?

USA Hockey no longer requires a specific certification level based on the age level of play coaching. A coach must progress through the education system every year and have completed the online age-specific module for each age level coaching.

HOW MANY CLINICS CAN I REGISTER FOR IN A CLINIC SEASON?

USA Hockey allows coaches to attend only ONE clinic per season. A coach must also complete the online age-specific module for each age level he/she is coaching that year. A coach can complete more than one online age-specific module in a season if he/she is coaching multiple age levels.

MY LEVEL 1 IS EXPIRED or EXPIRING THIS DECEMBER, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

You must attend a Level 2 clinic AND complete the online age-specific module for each age level you are coaching if not previously taken prior to December 31 of the current playing season.

MY LEVEL 2 IS EXPIRED or EXPIRING THIS DECEMBER, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

You must attend a Level 3 clinic AND complete the online age-specific module for each age level you are coaching if not previously taken prior to December 31 of the current playing season.

MY LEVEL 3 IS EXPIRED or EXPIRING THIS DECEMBER, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

You must complete the online Level 3 recertification or attend a Level 4 clinic AND complete the online age-specific module for each age level you are coaching if not previously taken prior to December 31 of the current playing season. Coaches of Tier I and Tier II (National Tournament Bound) 14U, 16U, and 18/19U teams must complete Level 4.

HOW MANY TIMES CAN I DO THE ONLINE LEVEL 3 RECERTIFICATION?

You may complete Track 1 and Track 2 of the online recertification program. The program should automatically recognize if you have previously registered for one of the tracks and will direct you to Track 2. If you have already taken the recertification twice, you must attend a Level 4 clinic and complete the online age-specific module for each age level you are coaching if not previously taken.

I WAS TOLD MY LEVEL 4 & 5 CERTIFICATION WAS VALID FOR LIFE, WHY DO I HAVE TO COMPLETE THE ONLINE AGE-SPECIFIC MODULE(S)?

Your certification is still valid for life and requires no recertification. With the advent of the American Development Model all coaches are required to complete the online age-specific module for the age level of play they are coaching. This online component provides information specific to the age of your players in accordance with the ADM and Long Term Athlete Development program.

I DID NOT COMPLETE THE ONLINE AGE-SPECIFIC MODULE PRIOR TO DECEMBER 31, WHAT HAPPENS NOW? I WAS NOT ABLE TO ATTEND A CLINIC PRIOR TO DECEMBER 31, WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

All coaches must be certified and have completed the online age-specific modules prior to December 31st in order to continue coaching the remainder of the season. The Coaching Education Program offers a Request for Temporary Card for the certification clinic if a coach is unable to attend a clinic. This must be requested in accordance with district policies. Please check your district website for information specific to your area. If your district does not grant temporary cards after December 31 then you will be ineligible to coach the remainder of the current season.

DO ASSISTANT COACHES HAVE TO BE CERTIFIED AT THE SAME LEVEL AS THE HEAD COACH?

Yes. USA Hockey does not distinguish between an assistant and head coach in regards to required certification level. All coaches participating in ALL team functions (i.e. games, scrimmages, practices, try-outs, tournaments, off-ice training, etc.) must meet the same coaching certification level, based upon the level of play coaching.