Tier 1 Hockey Federation is excited to announce PHA Icemen as a member for the 2023-2024 season. PHA Icemen play out of Valencia, Pennsylvania with five teams joining: U12 (2011), U14 (2009), U15, U16, and U18. This past season was their seventh season and they field teams that play a competitive AA and AAA schedule through tournaments/showcases, and home and away games. Some of the featured coaches within the PHA Icemen are Dave Grimm (U18), Brian Gierczynski (U16), Dean Whittingham (U15), and Mav Goepfert (U14).
Dave is a Class of 2008 Graduate of Slippery Rock University where he played for four seasons on the men’s ACHA Division 1 team. Since graduating from SRU, Dave worked at both the University of Pitt and RMU in their Sports Performance and Strength and Conditioning groups working with collegiate athletes and coaching staff. In 2016, Dave returned to SRU and served as a member of the SRU Men’s Hockey Team Coaching Staff. In 2017, Dave was named Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach which are two roles he held from 2017 to 2020. Coach Dave is the Head Coach for the U18 PHA Icemen and assistant coach of the PHA Icemen U16 team. Dave is also a former officer in the United States Army and lives in Sewickley with his wife and two children.
Brian Gierczynski is a Pittsburgh native and a USA Hockey Level 4 coach. He grew up playing in the Pittsburgh Hornets organization before lacing up for Baldwin High School, where he was a 4-year Varsity letterman and a 2 time SHIHL AAA All Star. He has played hockey all over North America as well as a stint in Omsk, Russia. For the past two seasons, Brian has been the Head Coach of PHA’s 2007 Icemen team. He has previously coached at the U14/U16/U18 levels of both AA & AAA hockey. He has coached players that have moved on to Junior, Prep School, NCAA, and ACHA programs. Brian is co-founder of International Dryland Academy, which is a non-profit organization concentrating on off-ice hockey training where he specializes in Russian dryland training. International Dryland Academy serves as the off-ice trainers of all PHA Icemen teams and is based out of Frozen Pond Arena. He resides in Allison Park with his wife Anastasiya, son Alexander, dog Lucy, and cat Lilly.
Dean has provided private Power Skating and Skills instruction, and for various Youth Hockey Programs for over 10 years. Coach Dean’s love for the game of hockey began at an early age growing up in Toronto, Canada. Dean played amateur hockey from Mite to Junior there, including five years in the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) at the AA/AAA levels. Dean has also coached amateur hockey teams from Mite through U18 for the past 17 years and currently serves as the Head Coach of the PHA U14 (08) team. Dean has also coached Freshman, JV & Varsity at the high school level for Pine Richland, and was a major contributor in forming the Pine Richland Development Hockey Program. He has coached players that have moved on to Junior, Prep School, NCAA, and ACHA programs. Dean has served as the Director of Hockey Operations for over 13 years. During his tenure, several of Dean’s initiatives included the formation, development, and oversight of western PA’s first ADM program, the re-design, implementation, and oversight of the tryout process, coaching development as well as the development of in-season player evaluations to name a few. Coach Dean is also part of the ownership of the Frozen Pond Arena where he serves as VP of Operations, President of PHA Icemen, and Director of Hockey Operation for the Pittsburgh Yetis. Dean and his wife Ellen currently reside in Pine Township with their two dogs Pita and Yuki.
Coach Mavrik Goepfert, born and raised in Butler, PA, found his love for hockey at an early age. Mav started playing dek hockey at the age of three and eventually moved on to play ice hockey. Mav grew up playing amateur hockey in Western PA and suiting up for his Butler High School team, where he was a PIHL AAA All-Star his senior year. Following high school, Coach Mav moved on to play two seasons with the Pittsburgh Jr Penguins. During his time with the Jr Penguins, they went on to the USA Junior Nationals twice. Mav concluded his hockey playing career with four years of ACHA Div 1 Hockey at Slippery Rock University. In his freshman and sophomore season, the team qualified and participated in nationals, and in his sophomore season, they won their conference championship. During his time at Slippery Rock, he gained valuable experience while providing private lessons. He has coached Butler High School Varsity as well as experience at Middle School, Junior Varsity, U16, and U18 levels at the AA & AAA level. Mav resides in Butler with his girlfriend Kaitlynn and their dog, Kovey.
The Icemen have been a key developer of talent when it comes to alumni and where they are now. Mikey Fritz is with the New Hampshire Avalanche in the Eastern Hockey League. Alex Erlain and Riley Mastowski are with Team Maryland (EHL), Tay Melis and Drake Tomak with the Boston Jr. Rangers (EHL), Mario Smith with the Texas Brahamas (North American Tier 3 Hockey League), Aiden Waters with the Hershey Cubs (United States Premier Hockey League), Matthew Bobko with Islanders Hockey Club (USPHL), Damien Busch with Trinity-Pawling Prep (United States High School Prep), Ben Baskinger with Shady Side Academy (USHS Prep) and Daniel Venture with Westminster Prep (USHS Prep).
Tier 1 Hockey Federation (“THF”) is a USA Hockey Sanctioned Elite Tier-1 Youth Hockey League. The THF provides elite-level competition through an unbalanced schedule among Tier 1 and elite clubs across the U.S. The THF is managed by full-time professional staff and has over 200 elite or AAA teams from 9U-18U. The THF brings together clubs from multiple leagues and states and is the only organization whose members operate franchises in the top junior hockey leagues in the US for NCAA Division I commitments: USHL, NAHL, NCDC, and the top junior hockey leagues for NCAA Division III commitments, the USPHL Premier Division and the Eastern Hockey League.