Ice hockey isn’t a sport people associate with the South, but one Huntsville native is making strides to change that.

Nichelle Simon is taking her shot on the ice and heading to the National Women’s Hockey League but her journey to get to this point hasn’t been as smooth as ice.

“It’s absolutely a dream come true,” Nichelle Simon said.

She’s been playing ice hockey since she was 17 years old.

“I started ice hockey later in life, and I didn’t feel like, I don’t feel like I’ve played my best years of hockey yet,” Simon said. “And I’m a better hockey player now than I was in college and I’m just not done playing yet.”

At the beginning of September, Nichelle got the chance to turn her dream into reality with a week long tryout with the NWHL’s Metropolitan Riveters.

“Actually after the very first practice that I had, they gave me the heads up that I’d be getting offered a contract,” Simon said.

But a year and a half ago, Nichelle didn’t know if she’d ever get to play hockey again after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I had a bi-lateral mastectomy in march, a year a half ago in march,” Simon said. “And I was going to try for the league that year, but obviously that put a quick stop to that.”

The next four months would prove to be the toughest challenge as she went through chemotherapy.

“I mean I struggled to make it up a flight of stairs, I had to stop three times, and that was hard for my boyfriend to watch,” Simon said. “I mean I was extremely strong before that. I lift heavy weights and stuff and I’m working out hard and here I am I can barely walk up a set of stairs you know.”

“When she had it, she went through the ‘am I going to die?’ and I said ‘no, you’re not going to die. We’re going to get through this.’ and we did,” Simon’s boyfriend, Eric Smith said.

Nichelle and her boyfriend, Eric, set big goals to help push through chemo.

“I kept saying to her, you’re going to get through this and play hockey,” Smith said.

Simon agreed to what her boyfriend said about playing hockey and added, “all I wanted was to get through so I could start working out again, and get strong and healthy as quickly as possible.”

Nichelle might not have been physically ready to be back on the ice after her treatments, but she was mentally ready to start training again.

“It was slow the first few months,” Simon said. “It was a struggle working out. It was hard to lift a five pound weight, let alone anything heavier than that. It was hard to run. It was hard to do everything.”

Now, there’s no stopping her from shredding on the ice.

“I think girls need to see them playing, no matter what; whether you get paid a lot or a little,” Simon said. “Getting paid anything to do something you love is an incredible opportunity and I want to be there to be a role model for girls and women who are coming up in the sport and it’s a very big honor to be able to do that at the highest level.”

Nichelle told WAAY 31 that no one really knows how strong they are until they are pushed to do something they didn’t think they could do. She’s proven anything’s possible if you keep believing and working hard towards your goals.

Now, Nichelle has also been a coach at the Huntsville Iceplex for 12 years and has taught a lot of kids how to play hockey and skate. On Saturday, September 14, Nichelle signed her contract for the Riveters at the rink in front of family, friends, and current and former students. Everyone we talked to said Nichelle is going to be greatly missed, but they’re all looking forward to going up to New Jersey to watch play.

“She is not just like ‘oh we’re going to play around.’ she is a hard worker, and she says you have to do that,” Simon’s player Ian Sharpe said. “She does not let you piddle around and she’s very tough and strong she really works hard.”

“You get to see her from like when she coaches you and then when she’s actually a professional,” Matthew Brown said, another one of Simon’s players.

Nichelle was only back in Huntsville for that one day and actually is headed up to New Jersey Sunday to start practicing full time. The Riveters first game of the season is coming up quickly at the beginning of October.

On September 1st the United States Hockey League (USHL) and its Member Clubs announced Sunday the 30-man protected and affiliate lists for the 2019-20 season. We are proud of our 47 #TPHTrained players that have secured a spot on one of these rosters. We will be cheering on the following players as they work hard over the next few weeks to secure their spot on the 30-man protected list:


Cedar Rapids

Max Sasson – Detroit CoE/8-Week Summer

Nate Hanley – WSI



Jacob Badal – Detroit 8-Week Program

Josh Doan – WSI

Mathieu De St. Phalle – Detroit CoE


Des Moines

Cameron Rowe – OHL Cup

Christian Stoever – Detroit CoE/8-Week Summer

Michael Mancinelli – Detroit CoE/8-Week Summer

Nick Andrews – 8-Week Summer

Tiernan Shoudy – 8-Week Summer



Luke Robinson – Nashville Jr Preds/8-Week Program

Riley Rosenthal – OHL Cup

Ben Schultheis – 8-Week Summer/Nashville Jr. Predators

Hunter Longhi – WSI

Ryan Beck – Detroit CoE/8 Week Program

Thomas Middleton – 8-Week Summer



Zach Faremouth – Detroit CoE/8-Week Program


Green Bay

Camden Thiesing – Nashville Jr Predators/8 Week Program

Dylan Moulton – Nashville Jr. Predators /Nashville CoE/OHL Cup

Dylan Wendt – Detroit CoE/OHL Cup/WSI

Xan Gurney – Detroit CoE



Dalton Norris – Detroit CoE/8 Week Program



Cole Kodsi – Nashville Jr Predators /8 Week Program

Davis Pennington – Detroit CoE/8 Week Summer/OHL Cup

Stephen Davis – Nashville Jr Predators /8 Week Program



Tanner Kelly – Detroit CoE

Bennett Barnes – 8-Week Summer

Kienan Draper – 8-Week Summer

Nick Donofrio – OHL Cup

Ryan Humphrey – Detroit CoE/8-Week Summer/OHL Cup

Ryan Mcinchak – 8-Week Summer

Ryan Sorkin – OHL Cup

Sutter Muzzati – OHL Cup



Hunter Carrick – OHL Cup

Kyle Kawamura – Nashville Jr. Predators


Sioux City

Sam Antenucci – 8-Week Summer


Sioux Falls

Joe Blackley – OHL Cup

Ryan Sullivan – 8 Week Program

Victor Mancini – 8-Week Summer



Luke Buss – Detroit CoE

Mitchell Miller – Detroit CoE/WSI

Mathew Knies – WSI

Nick Sofikitis – Detroit CoE/8 Week Summer/WSI



Ethan Szmagaj –  8-Week Summer

Logan Stein – Nashville Jr. Predators



Josh Deluca – 8-Week Summer

John Larkin – 8-Week Summer

This past weekend the United States Hockey League (USHL) and its Member Clubs announced Sunday the 30-man protected and affiliate lists for the 2019-20 season. These lists featured 16 players TPH Center of Excellence student-athletes/alumni.

Dubuque Fighting Saints Ryan Beck DUBUQUE FIGHTING SAINTS

Ryan Beck | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Tri-City Storm Luke Buss TRI-CITY STORM

Luke Buss | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Nick Sofikitis | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Mitchell Miller | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Chicago Steel Mathieu De St. Phalle CHICAGO STEEL

Mathieu De St. Phalle | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Fargo Force Zach Faremouth FARGO FORCE

Zach Faremouth | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Green Bay Gamblers Xan Gurney GREEN BAY GAMBLERS

Xan Gurney | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Dylan Moulton | TPH Center of Excellence – Nashville

Dylan Wendt | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Muskegon Lumberjacks Ryan Humphrey MUSKEGON LUMBERJACKS

Ryan Humphrey | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Tanner Kelly | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Lincoln Stars Dalton NorrisLINCOLN STARS

Dalton Norris | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Madison Capitols Davis Pennington MADISON CAPITOLS

Davis Pennington | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Cedar Rapids Rough Riders Max Sasson CEDAR RAPIDS ROUGH RIDERS

Max Sasson | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Des Moines Buccaneers Christian Stoever DES MOINES BUCCANEERS

Christian Stoever | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

Michael Mancinelli | TPH Center of Excellence – Detroit

The Software Report is delighted to announce The Top 25 Education Software CEOs of 2019. The following individuals represent excellence in the field of education technology and organizational leadership. Many of the awardees have demonstrated a deep commitment to the education and training sector and a passion for improving learning outcomes in local, global and corporate areas. Just as important, these CEOs are superb leaders who inspire their teams day in and day out and who can navigate the complex from executing market expansion strategies to undertaking multiple acquisition integrations.

Thank you to all those who submitted nominations on behalf of their CEO, your insights are invaluable in forming a clearer picture of an executive’s capabilities.

Please join us in congratulating this year’s awardees.

2. Jamie Candee, Edmentum

Before she was CEO, Jamie Candee had built her career step by step as she took on various roles in the Edmentum organization. In 2005, she started her career with the ed-tech company in their human resources department. From there, she moved on to serve as Director of Sales and Service Effectiveness, followed by VP of Product Development, and then SVP of Sales and Marketing before she became Chief Revenue Officer in 2012.

Candee took some time away from the ed-tech organization to step into her first chief executive officer role with Questar Assessment, a provider of educational assessment programs. During her three-year tenure as CEO, she led efforts to develop IT training and mentorship programs for Minnesota students through her partnerships within the business community. In 2017, she returned to Edmentum to serve as CEO of the online education provider.

Candee is well known for both her drive and passion for education technology. In a 2017 interview, she shared some of her early experiences with working her way to the top. “I was 21 and told my manager (I was in banking at the time) that I wanted to run a company as CEO. He told me I was aiming too high. From that moment, I crafted my plan and relentlessly focused on achieving that outcome. To run an education technology company as CEO is my absolute dream.”

Read full article at:

September 12, 2019 – Defender Nichelle Simon, who played college hockey at Hamline and Neumann universities and appeared in season 9 of NBC’s hit show “American Ninja Warrior,” has signed with the Metropolitan Riveters of the NWHL.

Simon is also a breast cancer survivor who completed her treatments in June, 2018. She has preparing for a comeback to hockey ever since, and achieved her dream after a successful tryout before the Riveters’ hockey operations staff.

The veteran defender was born in Ft. Lauderdale and attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s School before playing college hockey at Hamline University and Neumann University. She scored 19 goals in 87 career games, including 10 goals in her freshman season at Hamline University, and was named to ECAC West’s All-Academic Team in her senior season.

Simon, 36, is a dedicated athlete. She competed during the ninth season of “American Ninja Warrior” at the Daytona Beach qualifiers and continues to train for ninja events. Simon participated at the 2018 USA Pond Hockey National Championship in Wisconsin and led her team, the Southern Thunder, in goals at the 2019 Chipotle-USA Hockey Nationals in Anaheim.


“I’m extremely proud and honored to be selected to represent the Riveters and the NWHL on and off the ice,” said Simon. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of competing with and against great hockey players and the opportunity to be a role model for girls and women coming up in the sport. My message is that it’s never too late to follow your dreams!”

Simon has been committed to promoting hockey in the South and has been an instructor for over a decade. She is an “Operations Ninja” for Total Package Hockey, a service dedicated to positively impacting the lives of student-athletes through the best sport in the world.

Contact: Chris Botta, NWHL


Starting the week of Sept. 16, the Eligibility Center will begin messaging prospective student-athletes via text with updates relating to their Eligibility Center accounts.

The text messaging program, which has been under development for more than a year, is designed to more effectively communicate information about the certification process to high school student-athletes seeking certification, as well as increase each student-athlete’s rate of response to certification tasks. The program is also designed to decrease the number of emails sent from the Eligibility Center and minimize inquiries to the Customer Service team.

During the certification season, which runs through summer to mid-September, an average of 250,000 prospective student-athletes come through the EC, seeking certification or information on certification. Of those, approximately 100,000 register with a certification account annually.

Each account can require a dozen or more direct contacts from the EC, usually via email, in order to assist each student in moving their certification process forward.

This can be another valuable resource for our student-athletes. See links below to NCAA Resources.

Greg Austin, Director of the Indy Center of Excellence, is pleased to announce that Styner Sports Training will provide the off-ice strength and conditioning program for the CoE student-athletes for the 2019-2020 school year.

“This is a great opportunity for our student-athletes to receive the professional off-ice strength and conditioning that Styner offers,: stated Coach Austin; “Off-ice conditioning is an important component of training elite hockey players and creating the well-rounded athlete.”

Chris Clyne, owner of Styner Sports, shared the announcement on Facebook. “We are excited to build on this relationship and eager to help develop these high end players.”

Styner Sports Training has been in business for several years and trains both individual players and also many of the local high school hockey teams.  Of note, Styner Sports trained local NHL player Mason Jobst, forward for the NY Islanders.

Last weekend was the 7th annual North American Hockey League (NAHL) Showcase at the Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota. All 26 NAHL teams were present and we are excited to see 17 of our Nashville Jr. Predators alumni competing in the showcase. Below is the alumni who competed in the showcase:


During the 2018-19 season, a record total of 351 NAHL players made NCAA commitments, with 232 (66%) of those being NCAA Division I commitments. The NAHL Showcase plays a big role in that success, with dozens of players each season earning an NCAA Division I opportunity during and following their participation in the event.

“The NAHL Showcase is the Greatest Show on Ice and truly representative of why the NAHL is the League of Opportunity. Our mission each season is to continue to set the bar higher and higher and the 2019 NAHL Showcase will be no different. There is simply no other event like this that brings together the number of scouts that we see during the five days and we look forward to seeing a new crop of players and talent showcase their skills,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld.

The NAHL Showcase attracts over 9,000 people in overall attendance, including more than 350 professional, college and junior scouts. For scouting purposes, the NAHL Showcase is the premier event of its kind and is a yearly gathering for every NCAA program and NHL team as they get their first look at some of the best and brightest hockey talent North America has to offer. For more information on the NAHL Showcase including schedule, ticket prices, hotels, rental cars and arena information, visit