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2023-24 Season Head Coaches Bios

Director of Hockey - Tony Lessel

Born and raised in St. Louis, MO  Tony enters his seventh season as Director of Hockey for the Jr. Everblades and the tenth year for Hertz Arena. Tony played youth hockey with the Chesterfield Falcons leading to tier 1 for the Jr. Blues and attending Chaminade College Prep. in St. Louis.

Since arriving in Florida in 2008 with a degree in Sport Management, Tony began working with the Florida Panthers in an entry-level sales position. From there he worked his way through the organization.  Within a couple of years, he was running the youth and adult travel/recreation programs out of Panthers Ice Den. Now with the Hertz Arena and the Jr. Everblades, Tony has grown both programs year after year with an emphasis on structure, development, and fun!

A USA Hockey Level 4 coach, Tony has coached numerous state championship teams of all levels over the years and worked with USA Hockey’s player development camps locally. He prides himself on development at the grassroots levels to ensure the stability of this great game in Florida for the future and has been recognized numerous times by USA Hockey for such achievements. 

Goalie Development Coach Mike Buckley

Goaltending Development Coach Mike Buckley and the GDS Elite Development Program.  

A two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Mike has developed over 40 Division 1 college goaltenders, 17 professional goalies, and 6 NHL draft picks. During Buckley’s eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he amassed two Stanley Cups and mentored four AHL All-Stars and two AHL Rookie of the Year award recipients. 

Along with Coach Buckley, Steve Mastalerz will work with Junior Everblades goalies. Mastalerz, a North Andover, MA native, played collegiately at UMass-Amherst before playing professionally. He is the Vice President of GDS and head instructor.

The GDS Elite program was designed to give goalies the best individual training curriculum for elite organizations. A GDS Elite program has been designed for Junior Everblades goaltenders, utilizing the same formula and structure Mike Buckley uses to develop the area’s top youth, NHL, and collegiate goalies. GDS Elite is designed to bridge the gap between parents, coaches, and goalies to promote long-term success within the Junior Everblades organization.  It will provide coaches and parents with educational tools to get the most out of their development. Buckley’s coaching model involves a systematic approach to positioning and play reading with a significant emphasis on the mental game. Each goaltender will be coached to their strengths and weaknesses, not a cookie-cutter approach.

Power Skating Coach Sarah Sanchez

Sarah Sanchez is a US Figure Skating triple gold medalist in Moves in the Field, Ice Dancing, and Solo Free Dance. Sarah started coaching professionally in 2011, both figure skaters and hockey players.  At the beginning of 2021, she made a full-time switch to coaching hockey players as a power skating instructor. She worked with the Richmond Generals Tier ll teams as their power skating coach from 2020-2023. Sarah has coached beginners to AAA/junior/collegiate level players.

She is a member of the Ice Sports Industry and USA Hockey. She acquired a gold-level judging certification with the Ice Sports Industry. Sarah also holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Regent University. She believes that proper skating technique is foundational to creating lighting fast skaters.

8U Minor

10U A1 Head Coach Ryan Vesce

Ryan begins his second season with the Jr. Everblades organization heading the 10U A1 team with Head Coach Matt Spiller. ]

Ryan graduated from Cornell University in 2004 and went on to play for 14 years professionally across the NHL, KHL(Russia), AHL, SHL(Sweden), Liiga(Finland), and Switzerland’s NLA and Swiss League.  

Ryan is committed to improving each player and looks forward to developing their hockey skills, work ethic, discipline, and leadership qualities. 


10U A1 Head Coach Matthew Spiller

Matthew grew up in the small farming town of Daysland Alberta Canada. He played his youth hockey in his hometown until 16 years old and then moved onto the WHL for the Seattle Thunderbirds. He was drafted during his WHL career by the Coyotes. After the WHL he turned pro where he played 395 games in the American Hockey League and 68 games in the NHL with the Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders. Coach Spiller had a short stint in the Czech Republic before coming back to North America to finish his hockey career. 

Matthew currently lives in Estero Florida with his wife Megan, daughter Julia (10), and son Jacob (8).  Currently, he is a firefighter at SWFL International Airport. He loves coaching youth hockey and giving back to the game when he can. 

10U A2 Head Coach Austin Petersen

Coach Austin is originally from Los Angeles, California, and has been part of the Junior Everblades organization for the past 13 years.  A graduate of FGCU with a BS in Psychology, Austin is currently working towards his Master's degree in Child and Adolescent  Psychology.

Austin played for the Junior Everblades in the 12U through 18U divisions, was selected for the USA Atlantic Developmental Team, and was a Florida Gulf Coast University defenseman. 

Currently, a USA Hockey Level 4 coach, Coach Austin has coached the Junior Everblades for the past seven seasons and has been a skating coach with the Hertz Arena Learn to Skate program for the past nine years.  His coaching accomplishments include numerous tournament championships, including the SAHOF State 12U A Championship and  SAHOF State 10A Silver State Championship. 

Austin's coaching philosophy focuses heavily on skills, character development, and instilling the love of hockey in his players. 


10U AA Head Coaches Ernie Hartlieb & Rene Gauthier

Rene Gauthier and Ernie Hartlieb return to lead the Jr. Everblades 10U AA team in the upcoming '23-24 season. Bringing a wealth of collegiate and professional experience, this duo is looking to make a major splash this season in the 10U AA division.

12U A2 Head Coach Patrick Olsen

In his first season as head coach with the Jr. Everblades, Coach Patrick Olsen will bring an aspect of fun and learning to the ice each practice at 12U A2. After assistant coaching the last two seasons with the 10U A2 team, Coach Olsen is ready to get started.

12U A1 Head Coach Charlie Linglet

Coach Linglet concluded his 17th professional playing career in 2020.  He has gathered valued experience by playing in some of the strongest leagues in the world (NHL, AHL, KHL to name a few) while having the chance to learn from many experienced coaches along the way.

He begins his 3nd year of coaching with the Junior Everblades.  Coach Linglet is proud to return to the organization and is very excited to give his expertise to our young generation of players hailing from the Southwest Florida Region.

Coach Linglet wants his players to enjoy the game whenever they come to the rink. He will contribute by helping his players develop their skill set, work ethic, team game, and discipline.

12U AA Head Coach Mike Grenzy


Coming Soon!

14U A2 Head Coach Johnny Pelletier

14U A1 Head Coach Marvin Degon IV

Originally from New England, Coach Marv is an esteemed alumnus of the Cushing Academy and University of Massachusetts Amherst Hockey Programs. 

Degon earned National Hockey League (NHL) contracts with the Montreal Canadiens and American Hockey League (AHL) with The Hartford Wolfpack and Hamilton Bulldogs.  Coach Marv also played in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) with the Wolfsburg Grizzlies and the Eisbären Berlin and the Erste Banke Eishockey Liga (EBEL) with EC Villacher SV and HDD Olimpija Ljubljana. 

After playing 600+ pro games, Degon hung up his skates in 2015 and settled in sunny Naples, Florida, with his family. Most recently, in 2022, Degon proudly laced up for a two-game return to hockey with The Florida Everblades. 

With a focus on development, Coach Marv is committed to helping his players reach the next level while increasing their hockey IQ and overall love of the game.

14U AA Head Coach Johnny Pelletier

Coming Soon!

16U A Head Coach Derek Poletis

Join us in welcoming back Derek Poletis who is set to lead the 16U A team in the upcoming '23-24 season. After developing the 14U A2 team last season he brings a team-first philosophy and focuses on self-confidence, hard work, leadership, and discipline both on and off the ice.

Welcome back Derek!

16U AA Head Coach Peter Jerabeck

Coach Jerabeck returns as the 16AA Head Coach for the 2023-24 season.   

Coach Jerabeck has been coaching for the past 47 years. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the Junior Everblades organization. His successful career includes coaching at every level of youth hockey: Mites, Squirts, Pee Wee, Bantam, Midget, Juniors,  High School, and College. 

Peter continues to have Passion-Determination- Enthusiasm- Commitment-and the love of the game. His main attributes and why he has been successful are very simple.  He is always transparent. Coach Jerabeck has the innate ability to help his players solve everyday problems athletes encounter that interfere with their ability to realize their potential on and off the ice.   Peter is looking forward to the 2023-24 season.

Peter will be joined on the 16U AA bench by James Parisi, who comes to our program from the Carolina Jr. Canes 2006 AAA team.

16U AA Head Coach James Parisi

Coach Parisi joins us from North Carolina, where he just finished as head coach of the Carolina Jr. Canes 2006 AAA team. He brings 11 years of coaching at the AAA and AA level and points to coaching with positivity and passion as keys to his success. When asked to touch on his coaching philosophies, Coach JP says, "I coach for many reasons. I am truly passionate about the game and the growth of individuals, both on and off the ice. I allow for mistakes because with mistakes comes growth. I believe in giving back to the community and getting players out of their comfort zone.  I am a teacher before a disciplinarian. However, I expect all my players to be respectful and courteous."

JP will be joined on the 16U AA staff by Peter Jerabeck, who returns for his 4th season with the Jr. Everblades at the 16U level.