Board Of Directors Candidate Profiles

8U Age Level Director Candidates

Nicholas Petrini

Short Bio:My family and I have been a part of the Flyers organization since 2020. We have three kids with the organization, a U8, U10 and U12. This would be my third year as U8 Director and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work side by side with our coaches to deliver the best U8 program in the state.

Previous Involvement with FHA: This would be my third year as U8 Director.

Philosophy regarding FHA Culture:I believe at U8 our culture is what differentiates us from other local organizations. Our small program affords us the opportunity to drive a small community feel, drive closer connections between the coaches and players and the organization and parents. For the kids, it's all about development and learning to love the game that we all love.

Unique Challenges to FHA and how would you solve them:The biggest challenge we face is recruitment and facilities. For recruitment we need to continue to focus on growing the game locally in Littleton and Lakewood through our Mile High Mites program as well as offering families of young kids the opportunity to get on the ice and try the sport with little commitment, largely driven by our try hockey for free program. The other issue with facilities is a larger issue to solve for, but with the right culture and focus on player development and engagement, we can overcome any facilities challenge.

How would you achieve Membership Growth:Expand our try hockey for free program by engaging with local elementary schools, educating kids and families on the sport and offering an opportunity to try hockey with minimal commitment. We also have a real opportunity to grow our girls programs and trying to infuse some of our older girls to work with some of our younger girls could be a great opportunity to drive excitement and potentially help recruit more girls to the game of hockey.

What changes would you propose to improve the ON-ICE hockey experience for youth participants:Continue to reinforce that hockey is supposed to be fun and reinforce that throughout practices and games.

What changes would you propose to improve the OVERALL hockey experience for youth participants: More frequent engagement between coaches, players and parents on development throughout the season, providing more frequent feedback for player development both on and off the ice.

Jacob Payne

Short Bio: I am a well-versed sports coach with experience in hockey, soccer, and baseball. With a passion for athletics and team development, I have coached teams ranging from 6U-8U, honing in on skills in strategic planning, player development, and game management. In addition to coaching, I have excelled in leadership roles, demonstrating the ability to manage diverse teams with individuals from different backgrounds. My strong communication skills, coupled with a knack for effective organization, have enabled me to lead teams to success both on and off the field. I am known for my excellent communication abilities, which allow me to connect with players, staff, and stakeholders effectively. My leadership style emphasizes collaboration, teamwork, and a commitment to continuous improvement. Overall, I will bring a wealth of experience, skills, and a passion for sports to any role I undertake, making myself a valuable asset to the FHA organization.

Previous Involvement with FHA: I have been involved in volunteer coaching at multiple organizations. I was bench coach for the Lakewood Lakers when Henry was on the Mites team. With Foothills I was the bench coach for the 8U Vipers team. As a bench coach I spent time with the players explaining the game, talking though position and play development, offensive and defensive strategy, and overall player engagement.

Philosophy regarding FHA Culture: My philosophy regarding Foothills Hockey Association culture centers on fostering a positive and inclusive environment where players, coaches, and staff can thrive both on and off the ice. I believe in creating a culture of respect, sportsmanship, and teamwork, where every individual is valued and encouraged to reach their full potential. At Foothills Hockey Association, I prioritize the development of not just athletic skills but also character, leadership, and life skills. I believe in instilling a strong work ethic, discipline, and a growth mindset in all participants, empowering them to overcome challenges and achieve success both in hockey and in life. Transparency, open communication, and mutual respect are fundamental aspects of our culture, promoting trust and collaboration among all stakeholders. I am committed to creating a positive and supportive environment where everyone feels included, motivated, and inspired to give their best effort every day. Ultimately, my philosophy is centered on creating a culture of excellence, integrity, and passion for the game, ensuring that Foothills Hockey Association remains a premier destination for hockey development and personal growth.

Unique Challenges to FHA and how would you solve them: Community Engagement and Support: Building strong relationships with the community and garnering support from parents, fans, and local organizations can be crucial for the success of the association. Solutions may include organizing community events, fostering partnerships with schools or youth programs, and communicating effectively with stakeholders to keep them informed and engaged. Competition and Skill Development: Staying competitive in the hockey landscape and ensuring players develop essential skills and sportsmanship are ongoing challenges. The FHA can address this by promoting fair play and good sportsmanship, providing coaching education and mentorship programs, organizing competitive tournaments and leagues, and fostering a positive and inclusive playing environment.

How would you achieve Membership Growth: Offer Diverse Programs: Expand the range of programs and offerings to appeal to a broader audience. This can include beginner-friendly programs for newcomers to hockey, specialized training camps or clinics, and leagues or teams for different age groups and skill levels. Promote a Positive Experience: Focus on creating a positive and enjoyable experience for current members to encourage retention and word-of-mouth referrals. This can be achieved by providing high-quality coaching, organizing fun and engaging events, and fostering a supportive and inclusive community culture. Provide Value-added Benefits: Offer value-added benefits to members, such as access to exclusive training resources, discounts on equipment or apparel, and opportunities for skill development and advancement. Highlighting these benefits can attract new members and enhance the overall membership experience. Streamline Registration and Communication: Simplify the registration process and improve communication channels to make it easier for prospective members to join and stay informed about the association's activities, updates, and opportunities. Engage Parents and Guardians: Recognize the importance of parental support and involvement in youth sports. Engage parents and guardians through informative sessions, parent-coach communication channels, and opportunities for volunteer involvement to create a positive experience for both players and their families. By implementing these strategies and continuously evaluating and adjusting based on feedback and results, Foothills Hockey Association can effectively achieve membership growth and enhance the overall success and sustainability of the organization.

What changes would you propose to improve the ON-ICE hockey experience for youth participants: Many of these on-ice programs are currently in effect. I believe that they can continue to be improved to better the on-ice experience for the participants. Skill Development Programs: Offer structured skill development programs that focus on fundamental skills such as skating, puck handling, passing, shooting, and game tactics. These programs can be tailored to different age groups and skill levels to ensure continuous improvement and progression. Qualified Coaching Staff: Ensure that the coaching staff consists of qualified and experienced coaches who are knowledgeable about age-appropriate training methods, safety protocols, and positive coaching techniques. Provide opportunities for coaches to attend coaching clinics and workshops to enhance their skills and knowledge. Small-Area Games and Drills: Incorporate small-area games and drills into practice sessions to improve players' decision-making, creativity, and competitiveness. These games also increase the number of puck touches and active participation, leading to better skill retention and enjoyment. Focus on Fun and Enjoyment: Emphasize the importance of fun, enjoyment, and sportsmanship in youth hockey. Create a positive and supportive environment where players feel motivated, encouraged, and valued, regardless of their skill level or performance. Player Safety Measures: Prioritize player safety by enforcing proper equipment usage, implementing age-appropriate rules and regulations, and conducting regular safety checks of the playing surface and equipment. Educate players, coaches, and parents about concussion awareness, injury prevention, and proper techniques for physical play. Feedback and Evaluation: Collect feedback from players, parents, and coaches through surveys, evaluations, and open discussions to assess the effectiveness of the on-ice experience and identify areas for improvement. Use this feedback to make data-driven decisions and continuously enhance the program. By implementing these changes, Foothills Hockey Association can create a positive, engaging, and development-focused on-ice hockey experience for youth participants, leading to improved skill development, increased participation, and enhanced overall satisfaction for players and families.

What changes would you propose to improve the OVERALL hockey experience for youth participants: Improving the overall hockey experience for youth participants involves considering not just the on-ice aspects but also off-ice elements that contribute to their development, enjoyment, and well-being. Here are some proposed changes to enhance the overall hockey experience for youth participants: Holistic Development Approach: Adopt a holistic approach to player development that encompasses physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects. Provide resources and support for players to develop life skills such as teamwork, resilience, leadership, and sportsmanship both on and off the ice. Positive Coaching Culture: Foster a positive coaching culture that emphasizes encouragement, constructive feedback, and personal growth. Train coaches in positive coaching techniques, communication skills, and motivational strategies to create a supportive and inspiring environment for players. Character Building Programs: Implement character building programs and initiatives that focus on values such as integrity, respect, responsibility, and fairness. Incorporate these values into team activities, leadership opportunities, and community engagement efforts to instill a strong sense of character and citizenship in players. Parent and Family Engagement: Engage parents and families in the hockey experience by providing opportunities for involvement, education, and support. Foster positive parent-coach relationships, offer parent education sessions on topics like nutrition, injury prevention, and sports psychology, and encourage family participation in team events and activities. Continuous Improvement and Evaluation: Conduct regular evaluations, surveys, and feedback mechanisms to assess the overall hockey experience for youth participants. Use data-driven insights to identify strengths, areas for improvement, and opportunities for innovation in program delivery, coaching practices, and player development strategies. By implementing these changes, Foothills Hockey Association can create a comprehensive and enriching hockey experience that goes beyond the ice, focusing on holistic development, positive culture, mental well-being, community engagement, and continuous improvement for youth participants.

10U Age Level Director Candidates

Alex Katz

Short Bio: Originally from New York, I moved to Colorado in 1992. A few years later the Avalanche came to town and won a Stanly Cup, I was hooked and have been watching hockey ever since. I never really had a shot at going pro (never had the chance to play), so went to college and learned all about how to make maps, which I currently do for the U.S. Geological Survey. In my professional life, it is important for me to keep an open mind, stay organized, and communicate effectively with many different partners. The technical and the soft skills I use daily will help our U10 athletes reach their potential.

Previous Involvement with FHA: As a regular fixture around the various rinks in the front range, I have been involved as a parent by helping where I can: tying skates, snapping helmets, other locker room help, setting up and tearing down the boards, supporting the coaching staff, and being present at the various functions associated with the club.

Philosophy regarding FHA Culture: Small collection, big results. Being a smaller organization gives our children a great chance at getting to know and to trust the coaching staff, their teammates, and parents in a way that promotes growth both in skills and socialization. FHA is not a hockey factory but an organization that fosters teamwork, respect, and discipline.

Unique Challenges to FHA and how would you solve them: Timely dissemination of information that is easy to understand. One of the main issues parents bring up is the challenge getting pertinent information regarding practice and game times, where a tournament is being held and which teams play in which rink and which locker rooms, changes in scheduling, and changes in general. My intention is to take these challenges and find the simplest way to communicate in an effective and timely manner.

How would you achieve Membership Growth: Community outreach. Many people do not sign their child up for hockey simply because they do not know how accessible the sport is. The Future Flyers and the Mile High Mites programs offer an easier path to getting to know hockey. Offering skating lessons prior to these programs would be a great foundation for families to really have a better understanding of the benefits of being a part of Foothills Hockey. Having access to free and discounted gear will only help to push more families into the sport.

What changes would you propose to improve the ON-ICE hockey experience for youth participants: Keep it fun. As I have mentioned, I trust our coaches to develop our children while making sure the kids are having fun, staying engaged, and building success at a smaller scale.

What changes would you propose to improve the OVERALL hockey experience for youth participants: Not changes, but improvements. Improving communications for parents to have plenty of lead-time before a practice or game. Continuing our support of our coaching staff. Always improving for the benefit of our athletes and their development.

Kara Bolte

Short Bio: My name is Kara Bolte and I have two children who play for FHA, a son who is graduating up to the 10U age level this upcoming season and a daughter who just joined the 8U program. I understand the importance of communication and plan to apply my every day job skill set of organization and unending email communication to ensuring that information is shared timely and effectively. I understand there is a learning curve making the jump from 8U to 10U and I hope to help make that transition swiftly and smoothly. With that, I also am a parent who likes to be informed and what details are sought after. While I know I have a bit to learn I feel confident in stepping into the 10U director role knowing that this organization has a great network and is extremely family oriented.

Previous Involvement with FHA: For the past two years I have team managed my children's teams, thankfully that meant one team two years ago and two teams this past season.

Philosophy regarding FHA Culture: The FHA culture is family. The size of the organization allows the coaches to really know the kids and find ways to help them all develop and progress. This paired with the family feel, allows everyone to find connections and ways to navigate the crazy 5-ish months that become our lives supporting our kids in a sport they are passionate about.

Unique Challenges to FHA and how would you solve them: One of the challenges for FHA is competing with new registrations against some of the other organizations. A lot of this comes to word of mouth and sharing our experiences through normal conversations. Additional opportunities include working with the organization to promote the Mighty Mite/Learn to Play programs that tend to lead to Future Flyers.

How would you achieve Membership Growth: Partnering to promote Might Mites/Learn to Play programs through school announcements (how we got involved) or other community networks.

What changes would you propose to improve the ON-ICE hockey experience for youth participants: Changes to ON-ICE experience is not the easiest topic when I am not the one out there working with the kids closely. I understand that fundamentals are important, learning the game of hockey, and most importantly for these kids to have fun. One minor thought would be for more organized "game play" practice starting at the 8U intermediate and advanced levels which builds the foundations leading into the higher age groups.

What changes would you propose to improve the OVERALL hockey experience for youth participants: The OVERALL experience that FHA provides for these youth participants is amazing. The kids get more ice time, direct coaching, and specialized practice opportunities that isn't necessarily seen with the larger organizations. The fact the coaches learn the kids quickly and are able to address them in and out of uniform speaks volumes for the organizations family feel and ability to be more in tune with all the kids.

12 U Age Level Director Candidates

Ferdinand Torres

Short Bio: My Name is Ferdinand Torres, my son Abraham is going into his fourth year in hockey. He started with Foothills Learn To Play and if all goes as planned he we be with the Flyers for the duration of his hockey experience. My wife, Augustina (Auggie) and I have had the great pleasure to parent Abraham and his 4 siblings and are very blessed to share the ice with all the Flyers Families. Outside of the rink, I run my I have operated and managed my own sales agency, selling outdoor, work, tactical garments and accessories to over 500 partners in the Rocky Mountain Territory. I have the greatest love for team sports and all local teams, with the Flyers being closest to my heart because of the great family we have met and cheer on our players with.

Previous Involvement with FHA: My Involvement has consisted of everything I am able to do for the Flyers including but not limited to Scorekeeping, Clock Operating, Fundraising, Working the box, setting up 8u games, and most recently serving as Squirt A Manager and Co Manager the last two years, among countless other duties.

Philosophy regarding FHA Culture: We have a strong Family atmosphere at Foothills. My philosophy is to keep that at the center of our FHA Culture, while also inspiring our players to develop, compete and enjoy the best game there is to the absolute fullest!

Unique Challenges to FHA and how would you solve them: For how great of an association that we are, of course we have challenges. Being surrounded by larger associations with larger pools of talent is definitely unique obstacle in rostering competitive teams. I think solving this is highlighting our associations more intimate ice time with staff, finding the best coaches possible to teach our teams the game and instilling confidence in our kids that we are a great Association that they can be proud of. The more, happy families we have at the end of each season the more opportunity we have, to gain more participants the follow year through word of mouth. I think we are challenged to keep our families informed at all age level transitions, just what to expect as their child progresses through the age windows the sports presents. Especially, stepping up from 8U to competitive 10u tryouts. I think we can be a bit more proactive before tryouts to help families understand we are a competitive association with no real “Rec” teams and what comes with being on a competitive team, for example Travel, Expenses, being held accountable to be at practice and games, understanding Coaching whether it be a volunteer/parent coach or a non-parent coach and what the difference in team fees are between the two. Up front communication is always best. Lastly, though I understand the challenges we have, but having set schedules of tournaments for teams before tryouts would really help as well. Parents were aware that other associations had schedules and rosters picked before we were trying out. Again, this is solved by trying to stay ahead of the game as much as possible.

How would you achieve Membership Growth: Keeping Families happy, direct communication on roster building, offering fun Association based events not just age group specific, implementing a uniform set of game day attire, guidelines, and sportsmanship expectations. Again, Family and inclusive atmosphere is what sets us apart, we need to lean into that and families will be attracted to our experience for their players.

What changes would you propose to improve the ON-ICE hockey experience for youth participants: Finding enough coaches at each age level to allow more one on one instruction whether it be new to hockey players or developing players. Trying get FIA to make cosmetic changes to have parents more comfortable while watching the great game and palyers we have ie maybe heaters lol, having an event to buff or replace the glass so you can see the game better from the stands. Just a few that come to mind...

What changes would you propose to improve the OVERALL hockey experience for youth participants: Personally my family has had a GREAT experience with Foothills or else we would be gone, we need to keep teaching the game to new to hockey players and families, stay inclusive, celebrate victories at the association level, learn from losses on and off the ice. Be as competitive as our talent allows us and HAVE FUN, top down from the board to the smallest mite!

14U Age Level Director Candidates

Nina Engstrom

Short Bio: I grew up in Wisconsin and love the sport of hockey. Although I have never played, I have been a hockey fan for years. I moved to Colorado in 1998 and a few years later met my husband Brian, who quickly introduced me to the world of hockey. Professionally, I’ve worked in retail(ski and patio), food service and currently I work in the Dental world as a Registered Dental Hygienist. Brian and I have two sons, Darren and Tanner. Our family has been actively involved with FHA since 2017. Our older son, Darren has played for FHA for seven seasons-this year going into his second year as a Bantam. The 21-22 season, our younger son, Tanner finally gave hockey a try and loved the entire experience-he will be a second year Squirt this upcoming season. I have been involved with both of our boy’s FHA teams. I have been team a team manager each year, have served in the board of directors and have been actively volunteering within the organization ever since. I have thoroughly enjoyed building relationships with FHA families.

Previous Involvement with FHA: I have volunteered as the U14 age level director for the '23/24 season. Since my boys have been playing, the past 7 seasons, I have taken on role of team manager or co-manager

Philosophy regarding FHA Culture: I believe the culture at FHA is one our greatest strengths. I believe it’s the wonderful families that continue to be a big part of making this a successful organization, while supporting youth hockey.

Unique Challenges to FHA and how would you solve them: In my opinion, one of our biggest challenges is numbers/growth. Growth is so important at all age levels, so that the players are getting the coaching they need, as well as having a positive experience. Retaining our existing players is of the upmost importance, as well as attracting new families. Solving this challenge is getting the word out that the Flyers is the hockey organization to play for. Having the players show involvement in the community during the off season, through fundraising, offering open skates, and maybe a mentorship program for the older athletes to help the younger skaters.

How would you achieve Membership Growth: One of the biggest reasons we were attracted to foothills, was the warmth and family atmosphere. Once we became a part of the organization we stayed because of the families, the class and the love of the sport-ultimately because my boys don’t feel like just a number. They continue get to learn the game of hockey while fostering relationships. I believe if we continue to show our strengths to other organizations and new hockey players how great the FHA family is, I would be infectious. Once we continue to grow, I’m hoping other teams from other organizations will see how competitive and amazing the Flyers organization truly is.

What changes would you propose to improve the ON-ICE hockey experience for youth participants: Development. I believe that the key to making the flyers, successful and competitive is development on both the coaches and players sides. With our small numbers, it’s hard to foster players in the teams that they “belong” in while also giving other players a chance to grow and see what their potential could be.

What changes would you propose to improve the OVERALL hockey experience for youth participants: I would like to see more skills training. Focusing on specific aspects of hockey, speed skating, shooting, and bringing in experts that can help the players and coaches really hone in on those skills. I also thing capitalizing on our FHA community with added community events to make sure all FHA members feel like valued members of the FHA community.

18U (CPHL) Age Level Director

Sara Sanders Beasley

Short Bio: I have been a member of FHA since 2014 along my husband Rob and our son Ashton. Ashton started at U8 with the Flyers when he was 6 years old. He is now in the 18U program. I have worked in Colorado state government for the past 20 years and am currently the Fiscal Unit Manager for Prevention Services Division at the Colorado Department of Public & Environment Prevention. I have served on the Board of Directors as the 18U age level Director for the past 2 seasons and like to continue my involvement. In addition to serving on the board, I have been a Team Manager for the past 7 seasons as well as fulfilling the role as Manager of the Team Managers for the past 2 seasons providing support and sharing my experiences and knowledge . Since joining the FHA family, I have worked closely with Age Level Directors at each stage as well as supporting the changes in FHA leadership over the years. I have built respectful and trusting relationships with the FHA Board Members, other volunteer/appointed positions, coaches and parents. I have always been a strong advocate for our players and parents. I feel comfortable asking questions and offering suggestions to leadership with the overall goal of supporting and improving the Flyers program, ensuring our children have the best experience while playing the sport they love. In addition, my career in budget management as well as my experience with building and managing team budgets would be an asset to the board.

Previous Involvement with FHA: I have been volunteering in some capacity since the inception of our FHA enrollment. I have served as the 18U Age Level Director the past 2 seasons and have served in the Team Manager role for 7 seasons. I also fulfilled the role of Managers of Team Managers. I have also dedicated countless hours volunteering at FHA host tournaments and events.

Philosophy regarding FHA Culture: My philosophy regarding FHA culture is first and foremost the kids. I believe the most important aspect is creating an environment that is safe and welcoming to all kids who want to learn the game of hockey with the overall goal of creating a rewarding experience for each player and their families. It is also important to have strong leadership and a parent community that share the strong rooted values that FHA is known for. It is also important to have qualified and experienced coaching staff who can value and develop each player's strengths, skills and abilities. After all, hockey is a large part of their childhood (and our lives as parents) they spend many hours on and off the ice learning the game, developing as players, experiencing what it means to be part of a team, learning from and respecting their coaches not to mention the life lessons and long lasting memories they gain from team travel. In the end, it truly is all about the kids and my goal would be to ensure that message is never overcast

Unique Challenges to FHA and how would you solve them: The unique challenges FHA is faced with is the recruitment and retention of players as well as securing ice at our two home rinks. The Try Hockey for Free and the Future Flyers programs are excellent ways to encourage and hopefully recruit players for the organization; how do we secure families for FHA when there are a number of competing programs in the area. It is important to talk with potential families who attend these events and gauge what they value most in an organization; evaluate where we succeed and where we need to improve. Asking the questions why do families choose other organizations over FHA. I suspect some reasons are out of our control but hopefully we could find ways to fill the gaps and increase our recruitment and retention. In my experience it seems we have a robust enrollment at the younger stages and have difficulty retaining players as they age up. I would like to continue to be part of the conversation to understand and determine where change is needed to retain a greater number of players to ensure they stay with FHA throughout their 18U career.

How would you achieve Membership Growth: I spoke of membership growth as a challenge for FHA. I would say the same thing, first we need to understand why some families chose other organizations, evaluate the reasons and determine which ones we have control over and how we can make change to “win over” potential families. FHA has been around for 28 years so we are doing something right, we may need to continue to evaluate and innovate ourselves to encourage families to choose us. We are a smaller organization and I strongly believe there are more advantages to this than disadvantages. There is huge value in having several options for families to choose from and it creates a more competitive league. I look forward to being part of these conversations and offering any insight and ideas I may have.

What changes would you propose to improve the ON-ICE hockey experience for youth participants: I rely on the Hockey, Coaching and Player Development Directors for all “inside the glass” operations. However, as a member of the Board of Directors, I am part of the conversations involving recruiting and retaining qualified and experienced coaches at each level, offering additional development clinics, player and goalie specific camps and/or workshops. Ensuring safe facilities and equipment, making improvements to the rink as allowed.

What changes would you propose to improve the OVERALL hockey experience for youth participants: I am honestly not sure what changes need to be proposed to improve the OVERALL hockey experience for youth participants. It starts with strong leadership and I believe we have that with Jeff Rodell as Hockey Director and the other members of the Board of Directors. I am a strong believer in accurate and straightforward communication. In my role, I would start with offering my support to families by being available and open to having conversations, ensuring everyone is offered the opportunity to share their thoughts to determine specifically what is going well and what changes if any they would like to see; then advocating for them within my role as the Age Level Director.

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