By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., April 29, 2012 — The Great Falls Americans have announced the hiring of new head coach Jeff Heimel to lead the Americans during its 2012-2013 Campaign.
Heimel, a native of Saint Paul Minnesota, is happy to be joining the Americans organization. “When searching for a coaching position this spring I really wanted to find an ownership group that was committed not only to winning, but developing a strong community relationship and hockey culture with their fans and supporters. I could see this immediately in my negotiations with the Americans management group and I am extremely excited to join the staff. “I look forward to helping build a rich hockey tradition in the city of Great Falls”.
In his 2011-2012 campaign Heimel was selected to lead the Cheyenne Stampede as their inaugural head coach in the Western States Hockey League.
In their first season Heimel led the Stampede to an impressive 22-20-4 record finishing 3rd in the highly competitive Mountain Division and in the process earning the Stampede its first ever trip to the playoffs.
Prior to that Heimel became the youngest Head coach in the history of the WSHL at 24 years old when he took the helm of the 7 time Western States Hockey League champion Phoenix Polar Bears. Heimel, also won a league championship as a player and co-captain of the Polar Bears during the 2005-2006 season.
In his first season as Head Coach, Heimel led the Polar Bears to a regular season record of 25-15-6 finishing 3rd in the Western Division then earning his Bears a first round playoff victory and a trip to the WSHL division finals.
Heimel was also selected to represent the Western States Hockey League at the 2011 USA Hockey National Championships held in Rochester Minnesota as coach of the “best of the rest” team. The annual event features players and teams from across several junior leagues competing in a 3 day event. Heimel posted an impressive 3-0 record winning their division and helping several players gain exposure at the collegiate level.
Heimel holds a level 4 coaching certificate from USA Hockey and in addition to coaching Junior hockey he has been actively involved with teaching kids at the youth and high school level for the last 6 years and has been selected on different occasions as an evaluator for state and district events.
Along with his coaching experience Heimel brings a unique business management element to the Americans Organization. Jeff has a background in finance from Arizona State University and held a position as a banker with JPMorgan Chase for two years prior to his tenure in Phoenix.
In addition to coaching Heimel will serve as the team’s General Manager and is looking forward to ushering in a “new beginning” of Americans Hockey in the city of Great Falls and is excited to be a part of a community that has been extremely supportive of this franchise.