Hockey Operations

COACHING STAFF:

 

Head Coach: Dave Boitz

Dave Boitz has been an integral part of the Wilderness Hockey Organization for the last five seasons, serving at the Wilderness General Manager. During this time, The Wilderness claimed the Robertson Cup in 2015 and Dave Boitz was recognized as the 2017 GM Of The Year.

Prior to working with The Wilderness, Boitz was the Head Coach and General Manager of the Alaska Avalanche, from 2008 – 2011. During his time with the Avalanche, the team rose from the bottom of the league into a team that was able to contend for a playoff spot each year, winning over 30 games in their last two seasons.

Previous to the Alaska Avalanche, Boitz was part of the inaugural season for the North Iowa Outlaws, where he was Head Coach and GM for three seasons. During Boitz’s time in Iowa, the Outlaws elevated to one of the top teams in the NAHL, winning the Central Division Title in 2008. During the same year, the North Iowa Outlaws were also recognized as Organization of the Year in the NAHL.

Boitz’s first season coaching in the NAHL came during the inaugural season of the then Alexandria (Brookings) blizzard in 2003. After getting a late start in their first season, they came back as a serious contender in their second season, competing in the Robertson Cup playoffs.

Before coaching in the NAHL, Boitz spent over 8 years coaching in the Alexandria hockey association, both as a bantam and high school boys hockey coach. Boitz’s teams in Alexandria would consistently compete in State championships and brought home several Conference Championship titles.


Associate Head Coach: Jon Vaillancourt 

Coach Jon Vaillancourt is originally from La Valle, Wisconsin and spent the last two season as the Head Coach and General Manager for the Coulee Region Chill in the NA3HL. In Vaillancourt’s inaugural season with the Coulee Region Chill (then La Crosse Freeze), the team posted a record of 34-12-1, claiming the Central Division Championship Title, with six players moving on to the NAHL. This past season, the Coulee Region Chill captured the regular-season Central Division Championship with a program record of 36-9-2.

Prior to coaching, Vaillancourt played four years at Framingham State University NCAA D3 and was as named one of the captains his senior year. After college, he joined the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL before transitioning into coaching. Prior to joining the Coulee Region Chill, Jon spent four years as an Assistant Coach with the Hampton Roads Whalers. During this time, Vaillancourt also served as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Skills Development Coach in the ECHL with the Norfolk Admirals.


Assistant Coach: Brendan Phelps 

Coach Phelps was born in San Jose, California and moved to Colorado at a young age where he grew up playing hockey.  He eventually played for the Rocky Mountain Roughriders AAA program in Westminster, Colorado. Coach Phelps advanced to the next step of junior hockey, playing one year for the Flin Flon Bombers in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The next year later he transitioned to the Topeka Roadrunners in the North American Hockey League. It was then he knew he wanted to be a coach and began his career.

Coach Phelps began his career in the same organization in which he started by coaching for the Northern Colorado youth program.  The last four years, Coach Phelps has been an integral part of the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders U15-U18 teams serving in various capacities.  Coach Phelps has helped many players advance to junior and collegiate hockey. Coach Phelps has also served as the US Scout for the Flin Flon Bombers in the SJHL. 

In 2014, Coach Phelps founded STPHockey with the goal of skill development to maximize the potential of each player.  STPHockey has grown from a grass-roots level of small group lessons to now helping develop some of Colorado’s most elite hockey players. Current NHL draft picks, division 1 college players, and junior players from across North America rely upon STPHockey to improve throughout the year.  STPHockey focuses on developing the skating, stickhandling, and shooting skills necessary for players to ensure they make an impact at the next level.


Media Broadcaster: Marty Hill 

Marty has been a fixture with the Wilderness since its debut season in Cloquet in 2012-13.  

As the online play-by-play voice on hockeytv.com, he has seen the team celebrate championships in two different leagues, interviewed numerous players and coaches on the YouTube and CAT-7 program Into the Wilderness, and called hundreds of goals both home and away.  Marty’s broadcasting work also includes radio play-by-play for local area high school football, baseball, softball and hockey.  

A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Marty has lived in Cloquet since 2003 and has a 16-year old son. He encourages interaction during his broadcasts, so if you would like to contact Marty, he is available at wildernesshockey@yahoo.com or through Twitter @MartyHill_MN.  

You can watch all Wilderness games on hockeytv.com, with home games also appearing locally, on tape-delay, on the Mediacom cable access channel CAT-7.


SCOUTING STAFF:

Head Scout:  Sean Fish (Minnesota)

Tommy Lundgren (Northern Minnesota)

Rick Wesp (Minnesota)

Kevin Smalley (Minnesota)

Nick Sesock (Michigan)