January 16, 2020—With the goal of helping all kids reach their full potential as hockey players, Jr. Amerks has formed a professional advisory group named the Hockey Development Group. The group will be led by Jr. Amerks Hockey General Manager Francois Methot and includes NHL alums Nathan Paetsch, Stephen Gionta and Matt Murley, as well as former professional players Jim Lorentz and Dave Insalaco. The combined group brings significant knowledge and experience at the highest levels of hockey to Jr. Amerk’s player development program.
The Hockey Development Group will play an important role in player development at every level in every age group in the Jr. Amerks program. With a focus on individual skill development, the group will create a challenging and engaging hockey curriculum that prepares players for success as they grow into the sport and helps them develop the skills they need to advance their hockey careers and achieve their hockey goals.
Nathan Paetsch has played professional hockey for over 17 years and is currently playing in his 7th season with the Rochester Americans. He’s played in over 850 professional games, including 167 in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets. His career includes two Calder Cup championships with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He was also named an AHL all-star in 2006.
Rochester-native Stephen Gionta recently retired from a 14-year professional hockey 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.
Matt Murley was drafted 51st overall in the 1999 NHL entry draft. He played three seasons in the NHL for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Phoenix Coyotes. He’s been playing professionally in Europe since 2008, most recently for the Nuremberg Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers of the Deutsche Eishockey League (DEL) in Germany.
Jim Lorentz played NCAA Division I hockey for St. Lawrence University before moving on to play two seasons in the East Coast Hockey League. He is currently head coach for the 12U Rochester Monarchs hockey team, which is ranked 18th overall in the nation.
Dave Insalaco is serving his 13th season as assistant coach for the RIT men’s NCAA Division I hockey program. During his time with RIT, the Tigers won three Atlantic Hockey championships, including a trip to the 2010 NCAA Division I Frozen Four. A Rochester native, Insalaco played for SUNY Brockport and is the 7th all-time leading goal scorer and 10th in points. He played two seasons of professional hockey with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League.
The Hockey Development Group will begin its work now in preparation for next season. As the second largest youth hockey organization in New York state with nearly 800 players in the program, Jr. Amerks is committed to becoming the premier hockey development organization in the region.