Formed in January 2020, with the goal of helping all kids reach their full potential as hockey players, Rochester 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. Amerks 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.
A native of Montreal, Quebec, François 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.
Nathan 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. Nathan is also serving as the head coach of our 10U AAA team.
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. Stephen is currently serving as head coach of our 12U AAA Girls team.
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. Matt is currently serving as the head coach of our 13U AAA team.
Dave Insalaco is serving his 13th season as associate head 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. Dave is currently serving as assistant coach of our 9U AAA team.
Jim Lorentz played NCAA Division I hockey for St. Lawrence University before moving on to play two seasons in the East Coast Hockey League. Jim is currently serving as assistant coach on our 13U AAA team.