06.01.16 | 2016-2017 Barons Coaches

We have some of the best, most qualified coaches in the region. Every Barons coach is 100% committed to player development. Here are our 2016-2017 coaches.

2008 Cleveland Barons Elite : Jeff Rucinski

Jeff Rucinski played Division 1 hockey for Western Michigan University and was Team Captain both his Junior and Senior Seasons.  While at Western Michigan, he was a two time recipient of the Male Scholar Athlete of the Year.  After college, Jeff went on to play a few of years of Professional Hockey in the IHL, AHL and ECHL.  He played the 98-99 seasons with the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the IHL. Jeff has been the Head Coach of the Barons ’05 Select team for the past two seasons. He has a passion for the game and loves working with the youth players, believing strongly about focusing on skill development, a positive attitude, creating a fun environment and being a great teammate.

2007 Cleveland Barons Elite: Mike Bujdos

Mike Buidos is a Cleveland, Ohio native that played youth hockey with Shaker Heights. He then moved to St. Edward High school where he won three state championships. After high school, Mike made the jump to junior hockey playing three seasons between the AWHL and USHL. He committed to play Division 1 hockey at American International College and was named an assistant captain. Mike went on to play a few years of minor-pro hockey before retiring.

2007 Cleveland Barons Black: Marc Rabic

Marc played hockey at Avon Old Farms class of ’96. His coaching experience includes being an assistant coach at Normandy High school from 1998 – 2008.  Currently he is the head coach of Ohio Prospects Pre-post U16 AAA/AA team.  He is the Learn to Play instructor at the Winterhurst programs and also the Mite/Squirt/PeeWee and Bantam skills instructor from 2014 – present at Winterhurst

2006 Cleveland Barons Elite: Tim Okicki

Tim Okicki was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio. He played junior hockey in the NAHL before moving on to play Club Hockey at Ohio State. Tim brings six years of coaching experience, four of which have been with the Cleveland Barons. Tim also operates the Okicki Training center.  Tim is known for his undeniable energy and skill development.

2006 Cleveland Barons Black: Robbie Whidden

Robbie played hockey and graduated from St. Edward High School in 1988. His coaching career goes back to 1996 with the Cleveland Barons program as an assistant coach with the midget major team, junior team and was a head coach in 1998 for the bantams which were a national semi finalist.  He then went to St. Edward High School to become an assistant coach in 2000-2005 where they were Ohio State Champs in 2002, 2004, and 2005.  In 2005 – 2010 he was named Head coach and won an Ohio State Championship in 2008.  In 2011-2013 he was the Orange High School head coach.

2005 Cleveland Barons Elite:  Otis Plageman

Plageman Grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, before playing at Bowling Green State University for 4 years and 1 year of semi-pro in the San Jose Sharks Organization. Otis has been coaching at the AAA level since 1994 (21 years), and has been the Head Coach at every level from Mites-Juniors. He co-coached our 1998 National Championship Pee-Wee Team and also coached 2 years at the Ohio Flames AAA girls program. This will be Coach Plageman’s 5th stint through Pee-Wee’s, making him the perfect Head Coach selection at this level.  Accountability, Effort, and Execution are the cornerstones of his teams.

2005 Cleveland Barons Black : Jeff Tyhulski

Jeff played his career at Cleveland State University and the Cleveland Golden Leafs Semi-pro team.  He has an extensive coaching background in Cleveland with 23 years of experience and his level 4 certification.  He has coached in the CSHL all levels including Mite, Squirts, PeeWees, and Bantams.  He has coached pre-post U16/18 with Ohio Prospects, Winterhurst, CYHO and Crusaders.  He was a NOHS JV coach, and an instructor for North Olmsted’s learn to skate program.

2004 Cleveland Barons Elite – Josh Harold

Josh has an outstanding hockey background and a wealth of coaching experience. Josh played for the original Junior-A program in the mid 90’s under Tim Alexander.  He played his collegiate hockey at Miami University and went on to play 354 pro-games in the ECHL, IHL and AHL.  After his playing career, he immediately began his coaching career when he came back to Cleveland and coached the Junior team for two seasons; one was a national qualifying team. After, he coached in the USHL for two seasons with the Ohio Junior Bluejackets, followed by two seasons in Alpena with their NAHL team. He returned home to Cleveland to coach the Midget Minor Barons and then became the assistant coach of the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL.

2004 Cleveland Barons Black: Mike Glover

Mike has coached 25 years with Winterhurst Warriors, Cleveland Hockey Alliance and the Cleveland Barons organization. 2000-2008 he coached Avon High School, 2010-2012 he was the head coach for St. Edwards JV team, 2005-2014 he coached the Cleveland Warriors, Cleveland Alliance and the last two seasons have coached the 2004 Barons Selects.

2003 Cleveland Barons Elite – Mike Wilson

Mike was born and raised in Brampton Ontario. He had a tremendous youth hockey career before moving on to play for Sudbury Wolves of the OHL. Mike was selected in the first round, 20th overall in 1993 NHL draft and went on to play 336 games in the National Hockey League. After his NHL career wrapped up, he went on to play an additional 243 games of professional hockey in Europe. Mike has run the Ohio Hockey Academy and has ran over 8,000 hours of skill development.

2003 Cleveland Barons Black: Ryan Whitson

Ryan Whitson graduated from Bowling Green as a communications major.  He played at Bowling Green High school, 2 years of Juniors, 2 years of ACHA Club hockey.  His coaching experience includes 6 years at the Bantam U14 AA level and Bowling Green high school. He is a certified Level 4 coach and currently also works at Okicki Hockey Training Center.

2002 Cleveland Barons Elite – Brett Harkins

After a long playing career with stops at BGSU, Europe, AHL, IHL and the NHL, Brett joined the Barons coaching staff and has been with the Barons for the past 6 years. In that time he has taken teams to 3 National Championships and had 5 former players drafted into the NHL and two of his former players being selected for the US National Development team. In addition to coaching, he also scouts for the Boston Bruins of the NHL and enjoys watching the kids develop as both players and young men. With continued success he is excited to be back coaching with the Barons again this coming season and looking forward to getting back to Nationals!

2002 Cleveland Barons Black: Mike Pinzone

Mike Pinzone currently is coaching within the Parma Youth Hockey organization at the PeeWee level.  Mike was also the JV coach for Padua, an Asst. Coach with the ’96 Baron team and a coach for the University of Findlay Women’s hockey team.  He has extensive referee experience ranging from CSHL, NAHL, CCHA, CHA (mens and womens), ACHA, USHL, and has worked multiple USA hockey district and national championships.

U15 – Jarret Whidden

Jarret Whidden will enter his 2nd year with the Cleveland Baron’s organization. Jarret brings 10 years of coaching experience at the college and Midget level, having spent 7 years as Head Coach at Kent State University where he set the single season record for wins. Whidden played D1 collegiate hockey at The Ohio State University. He spent the next 6 seasons playing professionally, notching 327 points in the IHL, ECHL, UHL, WPHL and the WCHL. Jarrett comes from a family of hockey coaches – his father won the Ohio High School State Championships as a Head Coach a record 10 times, while his brother, Rob, has also won a State Championship.

U16  Midget Minor: Russ Sinkewich

Russ Sinkewich was born and raised in Westlake, Ohio. Russ played for the Barons 1985 team before moving onto the Junior Hockey level, playing in the Eastern and Central Junior Hockey Leagues, and the USHL before playing Division 1 hockey at Bowling Green. Retiring in 2015, Sinkewich played six seasons of professional hockey, tallying nearly 350 professional games played between the AHL and ECHL. Russ has spent the past two seasons as the Asst. Coach with the U14 Barons and is currently in the same capacity with the U16 Midget Minor team. Russ is the owner of the Ohio Hockey Project and also scouts for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League (USHL).

U18 Midget Major : Kyle Koennecke

Kyle Koennecke played 4 years at Nichols College and has coached AAA hockey at the bantam, U16, U18 levels for the last 15 years.  Koennecke is currently the Head Coach of the ’02 Baron team this season.

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