Assistant General Manager, Player Personnel, New York Rangers and General Manager, Hartford Wolf Pack
The 2016-17 American Hockey League season is Jim Schoenfeld’s 14th 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 personnel for 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 553-357-55-55 (.596 points percentage) during his first 13 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 43 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 19 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.
After guiding the Wolf Pack to a 41-32-3-0 record in 2015-16, his ninth season as the club's bench boss, Gernander sports an overall head-coaching record of 364-258-35-43. That is good for a stellar .576 winning percentage, and for tenth all-time in AHL history in coaching victories. Gernander led the Wolf Pack to a Northeast Division title in 2014-15, with a record of 43-24-5-4 for 95 points, and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Coleraine, MN native has finished each of his nine years at the Wolf Pack helm 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, 47, 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.
Assistant Coach/Assistant General Manager
Pat Boller is in his tenth 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 Keith McCambridge, 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 43-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. The summer of 2016 saw Boller back at the Hlinka Memorial Tournament, where he helped the U.S. Under-18s to a Silver Medal as an assistant coach.
Boller and his wife, Claudia, reside in Danbury, Connecticut with their sons, Kyle and Jack.
Keith McCambridge joined the Wolf Pack staff as an assistant coach August 3, 2016.
Prior to coming to the Wolf Pack, McCambridge had spent the previous five seasons as head coach of the Winnipeg Jets’ AHL affiliate. The Thompson, Manitoba native was head man of the St. John’s IceCaps for the first four years of that franchise’s existence, 2011-12 through 2014-15, and then spent the 2015-16 campaign as bench boss of the Manitoba Moose. During those five head-coaching years, McCambridge amassed a record of 179-158-23-20, for a winning percentage of .528.
McCambridge guided the 2013-14 IceCaps all the way to the Calder Cup Finals, where they lost a hard-fought five-game series to the Texas Stars, with each of the last three games going to overtime. In his first season as an AHL head coach, 2011-12, McCambridge won an Atlantic Division regular-season title with the IceCaps, going 43-25-5-3, and advanced as far as the Eastern Conference Finals. That year he also earned the honor of serving as head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star squad at the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic.
McCambridge also spent two seasons (2009-10 and 2010-11) as an assistant coach for the Moose, prior to the franchise moving to St. John’s, and in the first of those two years, Manitoba’s head coach was current New York Rangers associate coach Scott Arniel.
The 42-year-old McCambridge began his coaching career in the ECHL, with the Alaska Aces. He was the Aces’ head coach for two seasons, 2007-08 and 2008-09, leading the team to the Kelly Cup Finals in ’08-’09 and to the third round of the postseason in his first year. His total ECHL head-coaching record was 86-50-5-3 (.625), and he also worked with the Aces for three seasons (2003-04 through 2005-06) as a player/assistant coach and in 2006-07 as an assistant coach.
McCambridge played 11 seasons as a pro defenseman, from 1995-96 through 2005-06. That tenure included 378 career AHL games in seven seasons with the Saint John Flames, Providence Bruins, Houston Aeros and Cleveland Barons, during which the 1994 Calgary Flames eighth-round pick (201st overall) totaled nine goals and 21 assists for 30 points, along with 1,057 penalty minutes. He also logged 83 career IHL games with the Las Vegas Thunder, Long Beach IceDogs and the Moose, amassing totals of 3-9-12 with 276 PIM, and suited up for 166 ECHL contests in three years with the Aces, chalking up 5-16-21 with 375 PIM. McCambridge capped off his playing career by winning a Kelly Cup title with the Aces in 2005-06.
Prior to turning pro, McCambridge played four seasons of WHL action with the Swift Current Broncos and Kamloops Blazers, winning a Memorial Cup with the Blazers in 1994-95. He was an eighth-round selection by the Calgary Flames in the 1994 NHL Draft.
McCambridge and his wife Susan live in Farmington with their daughter Lauren and son Aidan.
Strength & Conditioning Coach
Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Cesari is in his sixth season with the Wolf Pack in 2016-17.
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 Glastonbury, CT with his wife Jennifer and their son Jackson.
Corey Smith is the Wolf Pack’s video coach, responsible for filming and analyzing footage of each of the Wolf Pack’s games, and for pre-scouting Wolf Pack opponents. He also assists fellow coaches Ken Gernander, Pat Boller and Keith McCambridge with extensive data collection and assessment, as well as with a number of administrative functions.
A 33-year-old native of Buffalo, NY, Smith joined the Wolf Pack after 11 seasons as a member of the Buffalo Sabres’ NHL staff, serving as the Sabres’ video coach.
Smith, whose father, Derek Smith, was a long-time NHL player with the Sabres and Detroit Red Wings, is a graduate of SUNY-Cortland, where he played college hockey. Smith’s brother, Kyle Smith, is the video coach of the AHL’s Rochester Americans.
Smith has made his home in Downtown Hartford.
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Kevin Gately joined the Wolf Pack staff for the 2016-17 season.
Raised in Glastonbury, CT and a 2009 graduate of Glastonbury High School, Gately has previous Wolf Pack experience, having interned with the Wolf Pack during the 2013-14 season, assisting with player fitness monitoring and technology implementation.
Since his Wolf Pack internship year, Gately has completed an MBA at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, receiving his Masters in the spring of 2016. While doing his MBA studies, he spent the 2015-16 hockey season as the strength coach for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers, supporting injury rehab, nutrition and prospect development and contributing to the design of the weight room in the Checkers’ new arena. Gately also coached high school lacrosse while at UNC-Charlotte.
Gately is a 2013 graduate of the University of Connecticut, with a Bachelors degree in Exercise Science. He worked with the football team at UConn, as well as helping a local high school lacrosse team, and played lacrosse during his freshman and sophomore years. In 2013, Gately did an internship at EXOS in Los Angeles, CA, an offseason training facility for NHL, NBA, NFL, MLS, professional rugby and youth athletes.
Gately has been an active member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association since 2011.
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 Quinnipiac 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 34–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.
Assistant Athletic Trainer
Wolf Pack assistant athletic trainer Kevin Gazzale is a new addition to the Wolf Pack staff for the 2016-17 season.
Gazzale came to the Wolf Pack from Seton Hall University, where he completed a Masters degree in Athletic Training in May of 2016. While studying for his Masters, Gazzale worked with the Seton Hall Men’s Basketball Team, as well as with the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic Professional Baseball League. The Metuchen, NJ native also interned with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers during the 2015-16 season.
Prior to his graduate work at Seton Hall, Gazzale earned a Bachelors degree in Kinesiology from Louisiana State University, graduating in 2014. He is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and is working towards his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist accreditation.
The 24-year-old Gazzale has taken up residence in downtown Hartford.
Head Equipment Manager
The 2016-17 campaign marks the eighth season as Head Equipment Manager of the Wolf Pack for Russell Holdredge, and his 14th 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.
Assistant Equipment Manager
Craig Lewis is in his ninth season as the Wolf Pack’s assistant equipment manager in 2016-17, and his tenth 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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Dr. Eric Damato - Damato Chiropractic Center