The 2015-16 American Hockey League season is Jim Schoenfeld’s 13th year as General Manager of the Wolf Pack. Schoenfeld also serves the parent New York Rangers organization as the Rangers’ senior vice-president/assistant general manager, a post to which he was named July 1, 2015. He had acted as the club’s assistant general manager, player personnelfor the previous eight seasons, and was a Ranger assistant coach from February 23, 2009 through the end of the 2012-13 campaign.
Schoenfeld assumed the Wolf Pack’s general managership July 21, 2003, and the team compiled a record of 512-325-52-55 (.599 points percentage) during his first 12 years in that role. Schoenfeld also served as the Wolf Pack’s head coach for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, leading the club to a total mark of 95-53-5-7 (.631) in those two campaigns.
Schoenfeld, 63, has been involved in pro hockey for 42 years and has enjoyed tremendous success as a player, coach and broadcaster. He came to the Wolf Pack after an earlier, one-season stint as an assistant coach with the Rangers. Prior to that, he had spent three years as the lead analyst for ESPN's National Hockey Night.
Schoenfeld has logged a total of 10 seasons behind NHL benches as a head coach, accumulating an overall record of 256-246-78 (.509 winning percentage) with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals and Phoenix Coyotes. His most recent NHL head-coaching turn was with Phoenix in 1997-98 and '98-99. His total record with the Coyotes was 72-66-24. That included a 1998-99 slate of 39-31-12, which at that time ranked second in franchise history for most victories in a single season. Schoenfeld helped represent the Coyotes that year at the NHL All-Star Game, as a member of the North American team's coaching staff.
After a previous broadcasting stint with ESPN, Schoenfeld assumed head-coaching duties with the Washington Capitals on January 27, 1994. He compiled a 113-102-34 (.522 winning percentage) in 249 games and three-plus seasons in Washington, ranking him fifth in Capitals history in games-coached (249) and victories (113), and sixth in winning percentage (.522). Schoenfeld piloted the New Jersey Devils from January 26, 1988 through November 6, 1990, leading the club to a record of 50-59-15 in 124 games. In 1987-88, he was responsible for coaching the Devils to their first-ever Stanley Cup playoff appearance, taking the club to within one game of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Schoenfeld started his NHL head coaching career during the 1985-86 campaign with the Buffalo Sabres, whom he guided until January 15th of that year, before general manager Scotty Bowman resumed his coaching career. Prior to joining the Sabres' coaching staff, he served as head coach of their top American Hockey League affiliate, the Rochester Americans, for a portion of the 1984-85 season. Schoenfeld's tenure at the helm of the Americans ended when he came out of retirement and rejoined the Sabres' active playing lineup on December 19, 1984.
Schoenfeld skated for 13 seasons as an NHL defenseman, appearing in a total of 719 games with the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins from 1972-73 through 1984-85. Captain of the Sabres from 1974-77, he suited up for 584 contests in a Buffalo uniform, registering 51 goals and 204 assists for 255 points, along with 1,132 penalty minutes. Schoenfeld earned Second-Team NHL All-Star honors in 1979-80 and also took part in the 1977 and 1980 NHL All-Star Games, as well as the 1979 Challenge Cup series. He was Buffalo's first selection (fifth overall) in the 1972 NHL Entry Draft and at the time he was named captain of the Sabres, in October of 1974, at 22 he owned the distinction of having been the youngest captain in NHL history. Schoenfeld is a member of both the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame.
A native of Galt, Ontario, Schoenfeld and his wife, Theresa, have a daughter, Katie, and three sons, Justin, Adam and Nathan.
Throughout the entirety of the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale’s 18 seasons of existence, the one constant that has defined the franchise’s identity has been the leadership of Ken Gernander. His stellar career has always been considered hall of fame caliber by anyone who has watched the Wolf Pack, and the American Hockey League enshrined Gernander as an AHL Hall of Famer January 28, 2013.
Named to his current head-coaching post July 23, 2007 after two seasons as an assistant coach and eight years as the Wolf Pack’s captain, Gernander is the longest-serving head coach in franchise history and has continued the same tremendous level of achievement behind the bench as he enjoyed while a Pack player.
Gernander led the Wolf Pack to a Northeast Division title, with a record of 43-24-5-4 for 95 points, and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2014-15, boosting his overall head coaching record to 323-226-32-43, for a stellar .578 winning percentage. The Coleraine, MN native has led his team to five playoff berths in eight seasons at the helm and has finished each of those eight years above .500. Gernander coached the Wolf Pack to another division crown in 2008-09, winning an Atlantic Division championship with a record 46-27-3-4 for 99 points, and led the team to a franchise-record 110 standings points (50-20-2-8) in his very first year as head man, 2007-08.
For much of his playing career, Gernander was as close as one could get to being a coach on the ice, as he was the only captain the Wolf Pack ever had through their first eight years and wore the “C” for the parent New York Rangers’ top development team for ten straight years. Gernander spent 11 of his 14 seasons in the Ranger organization, a record of consistent association with a single franchise that is almost unheard of in today’s sports world, let alone in minor pro sports. That association continued uninterrupted with the move of Gernander from locker room to coach’s office.
Gernander retired as the top-scoring American-born player in AHL history, with totals of 293-331-624 in 973 games. He also suited up for a then league-record 123 postseason contests. In 599 games with the Wolf Pack, Gernander registered 347 points (a franchise record at the time of his retirement, since surpassed by Brad Smyth), with 160 goals and 187 assists, and led the Pack to a Calder Cup championship in 1999-00. He twice captured the AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey (1995-96 with the Binghamton Rangers and 2003-04 with the Wolf Pack) and was named the Pack’s 2003-04 American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year.
During his 11 years with the Ranger organization, Gernander appeared in 12 regular-season NHL games (2-3-5) and 15 postseason matches. He originally signed as a free agent with the Rangers July 4, 1994.
Gernander, 46, spent the first three seasons of his pro career in the Winnipeg Jets organization, which drafted him out of high school in 1987 (fifth round, 96th overall). He went to the Calder Cup Finals with the Moncton Hawks in 1993-94. Prior to turning pro, Gernander played four seasons at the University of Minnesota.
Gernander and his wife, Kerby, have three children, daughters McKenna and Miranda and son Micah.
Pat Boller is in his ninth season of service on the Wolf Pack staff. The parent New York Rangers added an Assistant General Manager designation to Boller’s title prior to the 2012-13 season, after he had spent six years as an assistant coach.
In addition to working the Whale bench with Head Coach Ken Gernander and fellow assistant Jeff Beukeboom, Boller acts as the Whale’s video analyst, while also supporting General Manager Jim Schoenfeld in execution of all the team’s administrative duties.
The 42-year-old Boller joined the then-Hartford Wolf Pack after serving nine years in the Rangers organization as a Coaches Assistant and Director of Operations, Madison Square Garden Training Center. In this capacity, he worked closely with Video Analyst Jerry Dineen to prepare video, as well as assisting with pre-scouting and tracking statistics. Additionally, Boller helped coordinate team travel and scheduling.
Boller was also instrumental in organizing and assisting with summer prospect and development camps, working closely with Rangers’ prospects on and off the ice. The summer months also involved setting up player rehab and off-season programs in preparation for the coming season.
A former college hockey player and assistant captain at SUNY Potsdam, Boller was a member of the coaching staff at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. During his tenure, Manhattanville won the ECAC Championship three straight seasons (2005, 2006 and 2007). He also helped lead Manhattanville to an appearance in the Division III Final Eight in 2005 and 2006, and a Final Four appearance in 2007. The Queens, New York native made it to the international stage in 2006 as video coach for USA Hockey at the World Junior Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia, serving under Head Coach Walt Kyle. Also, Boller has coached USA Select Festival teams at either the 15-year-old, 16-year-old or 17-year-old level in every offseason since the summer of 2006.
In August of 2013, Boller assisted Pat Mikesch in coaching the U.S. Under-17 Select Team to the championship of the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Slovakia, and he went to the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup as an assistant coach with the U.S. Under-18 Select Team. In the August of 2015, Boller served as head coach of the U.S. Under-17 Selects, guiding that squad to a championship at the Under-17 Five NationsTournament in Arosa, Switzerland.
Boller and his wife, Claudia, reside in Danbury, Connecticut with their sons, Kyle and Jack.
The 2015-16 season is the fourth as a Wolf Pack assistant coach for former New York Ranger and four-time Stanley Cup champion Jeff Beukeboom, who was named to the staff July 6, 2012.
Beukeboom, who enjoyed a 13-year, 804-game career as an NHL defenseman, came to the Wolf Pack after three seasons as an assistant coach with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League. Prior to that, the 50-year-old Ajax, Ontario native spent one year as an assistant with the OHL’s Barrie Colts, and also gained assistant coaching experience with the Toronto Roadrunners of the AHL in 2003-04.
Drafted in the first round (19th overall) by the Edmonton Oilers in 1983, Beukeboom broke into the NHL ranks with the Oilers in 1986-87 and would go on to win Stanley Cups with Edmonton in three of his first four seasons (1987, 1988 and 1990). The Rangers acquired Beukeboom from the Oilers November 12, 1991 in exchange for David Shaw, as part of the deal that October through which Mark Messier became a Ranger, and the final eight years of Beukeboom’s playing career were spent in Ranger uniform.
The 6-5, 230-pound Beukeboom logged a total of 520 games as a Ranger before retiring after the 1998-99 season, and was a key cog in the Rangers’ run to a Stanley Cup championship in 1994.
All told in NHL action, Beukeboom scored 30 goals and added 129 assists for 159 points, and registered 1,890 penalty minutes.
Beukeboom and his wife Sherri reside in West Hartford and have three children, daughter Tyson and sons Brock and Reid.
Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Cesari is in his fifth season with the Wolf Pack in 2015-16.
Cesari is no stranger to working with professional athletes, as he has designed and implemented strength and conditioning programs for NHL, AHL, Olympic, and USA development athletes. He came to the Wolf Pack after spending two years as the Rehabilitation Coordinator at a clinic in Montreal, Quebec. Prior to that, Cesari spent three seasons as the strength and conditioning coach/athletic trainer with the Rochester Institute of Technology hockey program.
In 2005, Cesari worked with both the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA and the Phoenix Roadrunners of the ECHL as the assistant athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach. Cesari completed his Masters of Science degree in Sports Health Care from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2006. In 2004, he earned his bachelors degree in Exercise Science from Concordia University in Montreal. Cesari, a native of Montreal, currently resides in Hartford, CT with his wife, Jennifer.
Paul Secola serves the Wolf Pack in the position of assistant strength & conditioning coach, supporting Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Mark Cesari in all aspects of the Wolf Pack’s strength and conditioning program. Secola became part of the Wolf Pack staff prior to the 2014-15 season.
Secola, 25, who hails from Brookfield, CT, has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science, and a Bachelor’s in Strength and Conditioning, from the University of Connecticut. While at UConn, he worked with the Football, Men’s and Women’s Track and Field, and Field Hockey programs, and conducted, and participated in, research studies under his major advisor, Dr. William Kraemer. Prior to joining the Wolf Pack, Secola worked at Edwin O. Smith High School in Storrs, CT, where he served as Strength and Conditioning Coach for the hockey and baseball teams. Secola also coordinated the school’s weight room, designing and implementing training programs for both teams and individual athletes.
Wolf Pack athletic trainer Brian Fairbrother joined the Wolf Pack staff prior to the 2014-15 season.
Fairbrother became part of the Wolf Pack family after eight years working in Sports Medicine at Qunnipiac University in Hamden, CT. Fairbrother was an assistant athletic trainer for the Bobcats, providing medical services for the men’s ice hockey program, and also served as an approved clinical instructor and lecturer for Quinnipiac’s athletic training program.
Before beginning his tenure at Quinnipiac in 2006, Fairbrother earned a Master’s degree in Recreation and Sports Science from Ohio University, where he worked for a year as a graduate assistant athletic trainer, focusing his efforts on the football, women’s lacrosse and track and field teams. Fairbrother also has experience working with the football program at Harvard University.
Fairbrother did his undergraduate work at Northeastern University, completing his Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training in 2005. In addition to his athletic training credentials, Fairbrother, a 33–year-old native of Littleton, NH, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a Basic Life Support Instructor for the American Heart Association. He holds membership in both the National Athletic Trainers Association and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Fairbrother and his wife Katyann make their home in Wallingford, CT.
Shawn Roche became a new member of the Wolf Pack staff for the 2014-15 AHL season, assisting the Wolf Pack coaches as video coordinator.
Before joining the Wolf Pack, Roche worked as a video coordinator and video coach for the Canisius College Men’s Hockey program in his hometown of Buffalo, NY for two years. The 30-year-old Roche earned a Master’s degree in Adult Education from the University of Phoenix, after graduating from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor’s in Sports Management. He also did graduate work at the University of Toledo, serving as a graduate assistant coach and video coordinator for the football program, and at Bowling Green Roche worked as a student coach for the Falcon football team. He has also assisted the Buffalo Bills with their training camp operation.
The 2015-16 campaign marks the seventh season as Head Equipment Manager of the Wolf Pack for Russell Holdredge, and his 13th overall as a member of the equipment staff of the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate.
Holdredge started in his current role with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2009-2010, after spending the previous six seasons as the assistant equipment manager.
Prior to working in pro hockey, Russell worked as an assistant manager for five years at Gerry Cosby’s Sporting Goods in Sheffield, MA. There he learned how to sharpen skates and perform other hockey equipment repairs. He also learned how to sew and create protective pads on the factory side of Cosby’s, which produces equipment bags and football/hockey protective pads for many professional teams and players.
Born in South Kingston, RI, Holdredge grew up in Sheffield, MA. He graduated from Mt. Everett High School in 2001 and then attended Berkshire Community College for two years until moving to Hartford to begin working for the Wolf Pack. Holdredge also holdes a Connecticut certification as an EMT-B. He resides in Manchester, CT.
Craig Lewis is in his eighth season as the Wolf Pack’s assistant equipment manager in 2015-16, and his ninth overall as a member of the equipment staff with the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate.
Lewis tooke over the assistant equipment manager’s duties in 2009-10, after serving the Wolf Pack as the visiting team locker room assistant during the 2008-2009 campaign.
Prior to joining the Wolf Pack, Lewis worked as an ice hockey official, doing several levels of hockey, including high school and college level games, throughout the state of Connecticut and New England. Lewis was also a fan of the Hartford Wolf Pack growing up, coming to countless games.
Born in Hartford, CT, Lewis was raised in Newington. He graduated from Newington High School in 2004 and then studied at both Central Connecticut State University and Manchester Community College.
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