Tag Archives: news

Americans announce Player Development Initiative

By Kevin Scott

GREAT FALLS, Mont., July 2, 2012 — The Great Falls Americans are pleased to announce the Americans Development Initiative!

The Americans Development Initiative or A.D.I. is a 4 piece program designed to maximize the potential of athletes by addressing key areas such as:

  1. Technical Skill and Individual Tactics training
  2. Strength, Conditioning and Dietary education
  3. Sports Psychology
  4. Player Advancement (Teaching players how to promote themselves)

The mission of ADI and the Great Falls Americans is to provide athletes with every avenue possible to develop to their fullest ability and to prepare them to succeed in higher levels of hockey and in life.

“ADI will serve as the foundation of what we are trying to accomplish here in Great Falls. – A 100% development oriented program where athletes can become complete hockey players.”  -Coach Heimel.

This initiative is being announced in conjunction with the 2012-2013 season’s theme “a new beginning”.  “We wanted to communicate to the hockey world that Great Falls is committed to developing quality athletes.  The theme “a new beginning” seemed very appropriate for what we are trying to accomplish with the team.  –Owner Jim Keough.

The Americans have a 48 game schedule starting in mid-September.

Great Falls Americans Hire Heimel as New Head Coach

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.

Juniorhockey.com: Aaron Rio is named Firstar A-List Prospect of the Week

By JuniorHockey.com

GREAT FALLS, Mont., March 21, 2012 –JuniorHockey.com today announced that Aaron Rios has been named the Firstar A-List Prospect of the Week.

The 18-year-old from defenseman from Stevensville, Montana played 20 games for the Great Falls Americans of the American West Hockey League in 2011-2012.

The blueliner finished the season with one goal and four assists for a total of five points.

“The style of play I prefer to play is a more offensive type of defense I try to stop plays as soon as possible and am a play maker in both the offensive and defensive zones. I have no problem as a defensive man skating with the puck and making either a rush or an offensive play. I feel confident in my ability to get back when needed. Many times I have been a leader on my team, it is an important role that i do not take lightly. If some one tells me what i need to do to improve in any way I try to take what they say and graft it into my game even if it is one of my colleagues, because i believe that if any one gives you a tip they have your best interest at heart. I’d like to think of my self as a structured and hard working individual. I do what my coach tells me regardless of the task. If my current hockey coach told me to run through a wall i would give it my all. In the world of hockey my belief is that work ethics and coachability are everything to any level of hockey player you listen to your coach and take everything that he has to say seriously never talk back and always take what he has to say to heart.”

Story Courtesy: Juniorhockey.com (March 21, 2012)

Great Falls students learn anti-drug message

By Kevin Scott

GREAT FALLS, Mont., October 24, 2011 — The Great Falls Americans hockey team is standing firm against substance abuse, sharing the message with students as part of Red Ribbon Week.

The team stopped by Loy Elementary School on Monday, where the theme this week is “Team Up Against Drugs.”

The players taught kids about the benefits of teamwork and how using drugs will negatively affect their lives and those close to them.

Player Adam Pecht noted, “You need to stay drug-free because as a team, we can not have a team do drugs because it becomes a team cancer and those start tearing apart the team.”

Great Falls Americans Hockey Comes to Great Falls

By Kevin Scott

GREAT FALLS, Mont., October 6, 2011 — Great Falls has a new hockey team this winter. Junior ice hockey league, the Great Falls Americans have begun their first season and are ready show off their hard work.

This season head coach Matt Frank recruited hockey players that on -average have been playing since they were 4-years-old.

“Last summer and spring I went out to a lot of showcases in Denver, Las Vegas, Detroit and scouted these guys for many month, talked to their parents and finally got them to sign on the dotted line,” Frank said.

The Boys are Back in Town: Host Families needed

By Kevin Scott

GREAT FALLS, MT — Junior A Hockey has returned to the Electric City for the 2011-12 season. If you are reading this than you are just as excited about our upcoming season as we are. We hope that you will recognize the many opportunities that come with hosting a Great Falls Americans hockey player. Becoming a host family is a great way to get involved in the community as well as develop some very special bonds with the players and their families.

Host families provide a home away from home for our young athletes. For many of the players, this will be their first time away from home and they will need a stable living environment for their move to Montana. Players on the Americans are between the ages of 15 and 20 with the majority of them being 18 years old. Part of our commitment to our players and their parents is to provide them with a good home. The players often become just like one of the family. These boys come into your lives at an early, impressionable age and leave as young men. Their time with the billet family is a very important time of their lives. They are away from their friends and family, so their billets become their surrogate family. The players arrive from all over the United States in mid to late August and will be here until the end of the hockey season in early April.

When a family volunteers to house a member of the team, they are required to provide room and board for the player. This includes, providing nutritious food that is available for him to prepare or for the billets to prepare for the player. In addition, billets must be able to provide the player with his own room. Billets are expected to treat the players as “one of the family” and not just a “renter”. The same goes for the player, as far as cleaning up after themselves and keeping their room tidy and such. We have team guidelines and policies that will be provided to you, and that the players must abide by to be within our organization. We expect our billet families to uphold and enforce these team rules. All billet house rules will need to be communicated to the player when he arrives. 
Among some of the benefits of becoming a billet family:

  • Each billet family is paid a monthly stipend to house a player in their home of $300.00 per month per each player housed.
  • Generally, billets, players and the player’s family will develop a very special bond and remain close long after the player has left the Americans’ organization. We try to make it possible to make sure that this experience is a rewarding one for both the player and the billets.
  • Free game tickets are another wonderful benefit of billeting


Billings Gazette: Frank to coach Great Falls team

By Gazette Sports Staff

GREAT FALLS, Mont., July 7, 2011 — Billings native Matt Frank has been hired as the coach and general manager of the new Great Falls Americans team in the Northern Pacific Hockey League.

Team owner Jim Keough said Frank has been signed to a two-year contract to guide the Junior A Tier III club.

“Being an expansion team like we are, we’re going to need a good coach and recruiter,” Keough told the Great Falls Tribune. “Matt has experience in junior hockey in the Atlanta area and he’s made a lot of contacts. He’ll be in charge of all trades and recruiting.”

Frank, 27, is a 2002 graduate of Billings Skyview. He played three seasons with the Bozeman Icedogs Junior A club, then played four years of college hockey at Ferris State in Michigan. He currently works as a coach for the Atlanta Knights Junior Hockey Association, which operates Junior A and Junior B teams in Georgia.

“This is a good opportunity for me to become a head coach at a higher level,” Frank told the Tribune. “It’s a great area and I’ll be closer to home.”

 Frank said the national tournament for his Atlanta-based Junior squad is March 25-29 and he plans to be on the job in Great Falls by April 15.

“I’ve got some kids on my team and the upper-division team here who I would like to bring up there,” said Frank. “These are kids I’ve coached one or two years and know what to expect from me. I think experience is important when you’re building an expansion team.”

Frank said he will conduct at least one tryout camp in Great Falls in August.

Great Falls will be in the NorPac America West division next season with the Billings Bulls, Bozeman Icedogs, Butte Roughriders, Helena Bighorns, Missoula Maulers, Yellowstone Quake (Cody, Wyo.) and an expansion team from the Flathead Valley.

Story Courtesy: Billings Gazette: Frank to coach Great Falls team (January 23, 2011)