02.08.17 | 2017–2018 Cleveland Barons Elite Coaches

2009 Barons Elite Coach – Greg Soltes gregsoltes92@gmail.com

Greg, a Barons Alum, just finished up playing college hockey at Johnson and Wales University. He currently is the head coach of the Rocky River Mite Black team. Greg often runs Sunday skills with the Barons and works individually with hockey players in the Cleveland area. We are very excited to welcome Greg back to the organization.

2008 Barons Elite Coach – Jeff Rucinski Jeff.rucinski@dell.com

Jeff 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 was Head Coach of the Barons ’08 team for the past season. 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 Barons Elite Coach – Mike Bujdos mikebujdos@yahoo.com

A Cleveland, Ohio native, Mike attended St. Edward High School where he won three state championships, while also playing on two nationally ranked Team Ohio Midget teams. After high school Mike made the transition to Junior A hockey, playing three seasons between the AWHL and USHL. He earned a scholarship to NCAA Division I- American International College, where he served as a team captain his junior and senior seasons. Mike went on to play one year of minor pro hockey before retiring. He is now in his fifth year of coaching (second with the Barons), working mainly with mite and squirt aged hockey players.

2006 Barons Elite Coach – Josh Harrold jharry625@gmail.com

Josh played for the original Junior A program in the mid 90’s under Tim Alexander. He received a scholarship to Miami University and went on to play 354 pro games in the ECHL, IHL and AHL. After his playing career, he came back home and coached the Junior Barons team for two seasons, one of which was a national qualifying team. He then moved to the USHL for two seasons with Ohio Junior Bluejackets. The next stop was two more seasons in Alpena with their NAHL team. He returned home to coach the Midget Minor Barons for a season, and then went on to be the assistant coach of the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL.

2005 Barons Elite Coach – Bob Krosky rkrosky@wowway.com

Bob played NCAA Division 1 College Hockey at Kent State University where he amassed 102 points in four years. His coaching career goes back to 1996 as the head coach of Western Michigan University ACHA D2 Club team where his team won the National Championship.  In 1997- as head coach they competed at the ACHA D1 Club Nationals and finished in the final 8.  He was the head coach for a Bantam AA team that qualified for the National Championship in 2012.  He was Head Coach for 1 team (1996 group) that went to “A, AA, and AAA” International Silver Sticks in different years for both squirt (2006 A, 2007-AA Runner Up) and pee wee (2009 AAA). He also coached Midgets with CHA and Ohio Prospects.  In addition to coaching teams, Bob has spent the last five years as Skills Director for Iceland USA.   He also was the ADM/Mite Director for SYHC for five years and is now currently the Director of the Barons Red Program.

2004 Barons Elite Coach – Brett Harkins brettno44@me.com

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 with 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.

U14 Barons Elite Coach – Mike Wilson ohiohockeyacademy@gmail.com

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 the 1993 NHL draft by the Vancouver Canucks. Mike went on to play 336 games in the National Hockey League with the Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and New York Rangers. After his NHL career concluded, he played an additional 243 games of professional hockey in Europe. Mike runs the Ohio Hockey Academy for youth player development in North East Ohio. His training programs encompass over 8,000 hours of skill development.

U15 Barons Elite Coach – Kyle Koennecke kylekoennecke@yahoo.com

Barons Elite U15 coach Kyle Koennecke played 4 years at Nichols College and has coached AAA hockey at the bantam, U16, U18 levels for the last 15 years. He also is the Director for the Barons Black and runs the Ohio Prospects.

U16 Barons Elite Coach – Jarret Whidden Jarretwhidden@gmail.com

Jarret will enter his 3rd year with the Cleveland Barons 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 Barons Elite Assistant Coach – Russ Sinkewich  russ@ohiohockeyproject.com

Coach Sinkewich was born and raised in Westlake, Ohio. Russ played for the Cleveland Barons 1985 team, 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, Coach Sinkewich played six seasons of professional hockey, tallying nearly 350 professional games played between the AHL and the ECHL. Coach Sinkewich has spent the past season as the Head Coach with the U16 Barons Midget Minor team.  Russ is the owner of the Ohio Hockey Project and is also a scout for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League (USHL).

U18 Barons Elite Coach – Don Harkins donh@myteaminn.com

Don brings a wealth of hockey knowledge to the barons program. He has coached, scouted and been the general manager of both USHL and NAHL teams. He currently is the director of USA scouting for Prince George Cougars of WHL. Don has coached at the Elite AAA Level for 12 seasons and coached 3 time Stanley Cup Champion Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) for 4 seasons at Detroit Honeybaked. The Honeybaked team also featured NCAA Hobey Baker award winner Andy Miele (Philadelphia Flyers) and Peter Mueller (Boston Bruins). Joining Don’s staff will be U18 Barons Elite Assistant Coach Russ Sinkewich.

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