Girls Hockey Director
Hockey General Manager
We are committed to providing a place to play and an opportunity to succeed and have fun for every player, regardless of their age or skill level. In addition to the house and travel teams, girls have the opportunity to play on girls-only teams and compete for state and national titles.
Players in the Jr. Amerks Girls Program will have the opportunity to grow as hockey players no matter where they play in our organization. We’re creating a girls hockey program that not only encourages girls to play the game, but also provides exceptional coaching, player-focused development and opportunities for advancement beyond youth hockey.
Beginning in 2021, we've partnered with Webster Youth Hockey to expand opportunities for girls hockey in Rochester. Our Tier I teams ages 12U and up will play as Jr. Amerks, and Tier II teams will play as Webster Cyclones. All girls, regardless of the team they play for, will follow the same player development program led by Jr. Amerks Hockey General Manager Francois Methot and Girls Hockey Director Stephen Gionta.
We will holding joint tryouts each spring at Rochester Ice Center. Teams will be selected by a committee with members from both organizations to ensure every girl is placed on a team appropriate for her skill level and development path.
A Rochester-native, Stephen Gionta grew up playing hockey in Rochester and then moved on to play for the USA Hockey Development Program team in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He went on to play NCAA Division I hockey at Boston College.
He retired from professional hockey in 2019 after a 14-year professional career. He played in over 750 professional games, including 300 NHL games for the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. He finished his career with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL and is currently a scout with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Coach Gionta is dedicated to girls hockey and hosts the only girls hockey summer hockey camp in Rochester.
Francois Methot is Hockey General Manager for Rochester Jr. Americans and has been an integral part of our program as the Director of AAA Hockey for almost six years. He's coached several AAA teams during his time, and led the 14U AAA team to a run for the national championship in 2018. Methot is a beloved skills coach to many players in Rochester and across the region. Players of all ages, from mites to college and professional hockey teams, including the Nashville Predators, work with him to develop their hockey skills.
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Methot was a 3rd round NHL draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 1996 out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Methot spent the the first five seasons of his professional career with the Rochester Americans (AHL) playing in 334 regular season games with the club and another 39 Calder Cup playoff contests. After a season with the Portland Pirates in the AHL, Methot moved on to a very successful career in Europe until he retired from playing professionally.
Growing up in Fairport and playing on a variety of teams in our organization including the 14U Bantam Major team that played at the USA Hockey National tournament in Charlotte, NC.
Kiara scored the winning goal in overtime to win gold medal at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship for USA Hockey in Slovakia…Won a silver medal at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship…Gathered additional international experience with USA Hockey on the 2018 U18 Select Team, the 2018 Women's National Festival roster, and the 2018 Select 70 Camp roster….Led the PWHL in scoring with 64 points on 33 goals and 31 assists in 35 games playing with the Kingston Jr. Ice Wolves in 2019-20…Played at Selects Academy at Bishop Kearney 2016-19…Named All-USA Girls High School Hockey Player of the Year Top 5 finalist and Second Team forward…Selected to 2018-19 American Family Insurance All-USA Preseason Girls Hockey Team…Scored 202 points (86G, 116A) in 117 games at Selects Academy 2017-19.
In her freshman season at Penn State University, Kiara led the team in scoring and was named NCAA Woman's Hockey Rookie of the Year and both CHA Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year.
Kiara Zanon - U.S. Under-18 Women's National Team & Penn State University