(Denver, CO – March 9, 2021) – TPH Colorado is excited to announce Jay Sprague as Director of Hockey – Operations for its Denver division. A product of the sports academy model himself, Sprague comes to TPH with a breadth of hockey experience that includes winning an NCAA DI National Championship, playing professionally, and coaching at both the youth and college levels.
“We’re honored to be able to have Jay join our team in Colorado,” said Executive Director, Jordan Pietrus. “Jay has a deep understanding of the game, great experience playing, coaching, and also in player development. However the most important piece that Jay has is a passion for sharing all of this knowledge with the next generation.”
Sprague has walked the path that most Center of Excellence students would like to take, preparing him perfectly to lead the student-athletes at TPH Denver. Sprague attended and played hockey for IMG Academy before moving on to a junior hockey career in the USHL. After playing a combined 90 games for the Chicago Steel and the Indiana Ice, Sprague earned an athletic scholarship at Michigan State University where he was a member of the 2007 NCAA National Championship team. During his time at Michigan State, he was a four-year letter winner and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. After finishing college, Jay went on to play professionally in the ECHL and CHL before he eventually decided to transition from a career as a player to a career as a coach and mentor.
“It was an easy decision for me to make the move to coaching, and youth development is where I felt I could make the biggest impact,” said Sprague. “The game of hockey has given me so much and I’m fully committed to giving back as much as I possibly can.”
Most recently Sprague has served as the Director of Skills Development for Defense First Hockey School in Toronto. Working under the tutelage of former NHL blueliner, Mike Weaver, Sprague has had the opportunity to learn from one of the top defenseman coaches in North America and has spent time coaching some of the top players in Canada. Sprague has also devoted time coaching both male and female players throughout the youth and college ranks. Starting with an assistant coaching role at Ryerson University in Toronto, he proceeded to lead teams at SUNY Cortland in upstate New York, and then served as the Girl’s Head Coach at Nichols School a prep school in Buffalo, NY. Now as a member of the TPH family, he’s thrilled to have the opportunity to empower the next generation of up and coming hockey players in Colorado.
“TPH is a natural fit and a perfect setting for me to be able to build valuable relationships with the student-athletes and help them along their academic and athletic journeys,” said Sprague. “I look forward to making an impact with these players on day one and taking responsibility for helping them realize their potential.”
The future of student-athlete development at Denver’s Center of Excellence is primed to continue thriving as Sprague comes aboard. While some coaches lead best by instruction and others by example, he is prepared to do both.
“Jay Sprague exemplifies exactly what we want our student-athletes to embody at TPH: a drive, work ethic and tenacity to achieve your goals coupled with humility and a genuine spirit,” continued Jordan Pietrus. “What I like most about Jay, is that nothing has ever been given to him. He has achieved so much over the course of his career, but he has had to work and persevere to achieve his goals. These are valuable lessons I believe he can pass on to the student-athletes at the CoE, because he has the passion to do so, and he has walked the path himself!”
Please join us in welcoming Jay to Denver and the TPH Family!
(Denver, CO – March 9, 2021) – TPH Denver is pleased to announce that Kristen Bowness will be joining its Center of Excellence as an Academic Success Coach. With more than 10 years of professional teaching experience and a background in sports program management, Kristen will be a valuable addition to the TPH Denver team. She will play a critical role in upholding the TPH standard of exceeding expectations in athletics, academics, and community enrichment.
Making a positive impact on the lives of student-athletes is something Kristen has been dedicated to throughout her professional career. After earning a Bachelor’s degree from The University of Arizona she went on to complete a Master’s degree in Sport Management & Athletic Administration. From there she became a licensed teacher and spent 6 years teaching in the Arizona school system where she was honored as the Teacher of the Year.
“TPH has created such a cohesive environment for kids to develop as both students and athletes,” said Kristen. “I’m excited to immerse myself in the culture of the CoE, and I look forward to the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the students I work with.”
For the past six years, Kristen has been working as the Community Hockey Manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning. She was responsible for helping to grow the game in the local community on a number of different levels while she also stayed active as an educator.
“We’re excited to welcome Kristen into the TPH family,” said Executive Director of TPH Colorado, Jordan Pietrus. “Providing our students with support in the classroom is our number one priority. I am confident that Kristen is someone we can count on to help them grow as students, athletes, but most importantly as people.
Former pro and UNH assistant captain comes home to share his experience with student-athletes
(DENVER, CO – August 21, 2020) – Jordan Pietrus, Executive Director of Total Package Hockey (TPH) Colorado, has announced the addition of Brett Kostolansky as the Director of Hockey Operations for the Denver division. Kostolansky brings with him a tremendous amount of experience from playing Division-I college hockey and taking the next step to the professional level.
“We were looking for someone that first and foremost is of high character,” said Pietrus on hiring Kostolansky. “Everyone we spoke to about Brett spoke extremely highly of him and his character. Our directors are leading young men and women and spending a lot of time with them and mentoring them. His hockey experience both playing and coaching is something we were looking for. He’s a former Thunderbird. He played prep school and then went to the University of New Hampshire, which is one of the top college programs in the country. Then, he had a chance to play professionally after college. Being a homegrown Colorado youth hockey player and now having the opportunity to give back to the next generation is something that’s really exciting for us.”
Following his time in youth hockey programs in Denver, Kostolansky played two seasons of prep hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. He then played for the Chicago Steel of the USHL for one season before beginning his college career at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Kostolansky played all four years at UNH and then spent three seasons with the Rapid City Rush of the ECHL. He took a path that so many TPH student-athletes wish to take, and now he’s come home to share that experience.
“I think it’s real special to join TPH, especially growing up here in Denver,” said Kostolansky. “Being able to give back to the community and be a part of the Denver hockey community has always been a goal of mine. I grew up here, went through the youth programs and took that path. I’m excited to pass that experience down to the youth hockey players here in Denver.”
Being a former college athlete provides a wealth of knowledge about finding the balance between athletics and education. Kostolansky understands how important education is at TPH and how it molds young minds into being upstanding members of society.
“I learned that you don’t take the education part for granted,” Kostolansky said. “That’s subtly the most important part. Your mind may be more towards the hockey part, but your education, and what you put in the classroom and what you get out of that, is the most important part of being a student-athlete in furthering your hockey career, or any career for that matter.
During his senior year at UNH, Kostolansky wore an “A” as an assistant captain for the team. Being a leader is not an easy task. It’s not something that’s just given. It has to be earned, and Kostolansky is prepared to create future leaders at TPH.
“I think it’s your preparation and being a good role model,” said Kostolansky on what it takes to lead by example. “To be a leader, first and foremost you have to have your teammates look up to you. You have to set the right example. It starts with that and that’s on your own preparation, your own processes and that will bleed down to the rest of the organization. Just setting that good example gets everyone off on the right foot and creates a great culture.”
Kostolansky is bringing the right mindset to mentor the student-athletes in Denver. He’s ready to help them pursue their goals, whatever they may be. By providing them with the right tools for life, it will lead to more opportunities athletically.
“We want our players to be advancing athletically,” said Jordan Pietrus. “We want them to play at the highest level possible. The most important thing for us is preparing them for life. If we can mentor them and give them tools that will help them win at life, that’s what we’re really striving full. If we help them achieve their goals athletically, that’s just a bonus for us.”
ENGLEWOOD, CO – TPH Colorado is thrilled to announce that Synapse PT will be the official Physical Therapy provider for TPH students in both Denver and Superior locations for the upcoming 2020-21 school year. In Synapse, TPH student athletes and families will have a professional and trusted organization that they can lean on for all their bumps, bruises, and rehabilitation needs.
“We could not be more excited to have the opportunity to have the team at Synapse PT available as a resource to our student-athletes throughout the year at both our Denver and Superior locations.” said TPH Colorado Director, Jordan Pietrus. “Injuries, bumps, and bruises are all apart of sport, so to be able to have our students receive professional help and advice in navigating how to handle these and recover is a huge benefit. TPH is constantly looking for ways to improve our program and provide our student-athletes with every advantage possible. We believe Synapse PT is a great resource for our students, athletes and families, and that Synapse is truly a great piece to add to our program!”
Synapse PT will offer all TPH Students complementary Injury Triage Services on site in Superior and at a pop-up clinic in Denver where Synapse PT will be on site for TPH students. TPH students will also receive FMS (Functional Movement Screening) screenings with corrective exercises delivered through TPH’s training app. TPH will lean on the extensive experience of Mike Keating, his work with USA Rugby and the Chicago Blackhawks, and Synapse’s team of fully qualified and professional staff for things like additional education sessions and even neurocognitive testing. With clinics located at the Promenade Ice Centre in Westminster and the Sport Stable in Superior, Synapse is your hometown physical therapy partner.
“It is part of our core belief at Synapse PT that a healthy student and athlete is a better student and athlete.” said Keating. “We love TPH’s Center of Excellence model, combining high performing academics and athletics together, and believe that we offer a missing piece to the player welfare to these student-athletes. We are really looking forward to being able to help the high performing students at TPH stay healthy, so they can achieve their goals both in the classroom, and on the ice as well!”
TPH students and families will also have the opportunity to work with Synapse in any of the various other services Synapse offers such as:
- Orthopedic care
- Sports medicine
- Manual therapy
- Spine care
- Dry needling
- IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Massage)
- Cupping Therapy
- Joint Replacement Rehabilitation
- Work Hardening/Worker’s Compensation
- Auto Accidents
- Concussion Testing and Treatment
- Running Biomechanics and Gait Analysis
- Return to Sport Rehabilitation and Functional Testing
- Pre and Post-Operative Care
- Gait Training
- Injury Prevention Education
- Home Exercise Program Development
- ACL Prevention
- Athletic Training
- Kinesio Taping
Do not miss your chance to secure your spot at the Center of Excellence in Superior or Denver and take advantage of our blended learning environment! No matter what happens this year with COVID, TPH WILL Go The Distance and has a plan to pivot no matter what! Space is limited and we are down to our last few spots at each location! Take the first step and apply today, or fill out our inquiry form to connect with us.
Denver, CO – TPH Colorado is excited to announce the TPH Day schedules for both Denver and Superior. TPH Day is a completely FREE event that will allow families and players to hear presentations on the academics and Center of Excellence model as well as participate in an on-ice TPH practice. This is an opportunity to meet the TPH Colorado staff, see facilities, ask questions, and learn how #TPHGoesTheDistance.
If you are interested in the TPH Center of Excellence, this is a perfect opportunity to get a more full experience to better understand if it is a fit for you or your student-athlete at no charge. TPH Day – Denver will be held at the Family Sports Center on July 12th and TPH Day – Superior will take place at the Sports Stable on July 19th. Space is limited, below is the schedules and registration links for each location.
TPH Day Denver Schedule
July 12th at Family Sports Center
|12:30 - 12:40 pm||Check In / Receive Gift|
|12:40 p.m.||Introduction & Welcome|
|12:40 - 1:15 p.m.||Center of Excellence Model Overview|
|1:15 - 1:25 p.m.||Pre-Ice Video|
|1:25 - 1:35 p.m.||Dynamic Warm-up|
|2:00 - 3:00 p.m.||On-Ice|
|3:30 - 4:15 p.m.||Dryland (Academics at TPH Presentation)|
|4:20 p.m.||Q&A / Thank You and Meal in Banquet Room at FSC|
TPH Day Superior Schedule
July 19th at Sports Stable
|4:30 - 4:40 p.m.||Check In / Receive Gift|
|4:40 p.m.||Introduction / Welcom|
|4:40 - 5:15 p.m.||Center of Excellence Model Overview|
|5:15 - 5:25 p.m.||Pre-Ice Video|
|5:25 - 5:35 p.m.||Dynamic Warm-up|
|6:00 - 7:00 p.m.||On-Ice|
|7:15 - 7:45 p.m.||Academics at TPH Presentation|
|7:45 p.m.||Q&A / Thank You and Meal in Restaurant|
Space is limited at the Center of Excellence for the 2020-21 academic year. If you are interested and are ready to take the first step towards reserving your spot at the TPH Center of Excellence, click here to apply.
TPH Colorado is pleased to announce Denver Human Performance (DHP) as the official strength and conditioning partners at its Denver location. Chase Engdahl is the Director of Human Performance for DHP and brings a wealth of high-level knowledge and experience to the athletes of TPH Colorado. Engdahl’s educational background is extensive, earning his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and then a master’s degree in Applied Exercise Science. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Chase parlayed his education to becoming an assistant NHL strength coach, working with some of the top athletes in the world. Chase now leads Denver Human Performance and TPH athletes with his knowledge and experience to help provide them with the tools they can use to springboard them to their individual next level.
Andy Howard will serve as the Head Strength and Conditioning coach for DHP. Howard completed his undergrad in Exercise Science and is in the process of completing his master’s degree in Exercise Physiology. Andy is also a registered Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and has interned under former NHLer Brent Severyn at Severyn Sports in Dallas, Texas as well as the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Most recently Andy served as the Assistant Strength Coach for the Colorado Rampage last season.
“We could not be more excited to have Denver Human Performance join our team for this upcoming year,” says TPH Colorado Director Jordan Pietrus. “Chase and Andy have great backgrounds, and fantastic experience in developing not only hockey players but all athletes. Their passion for developing more complete athletes and people align with our core values at TPH and we are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Denver Human Performance next year.”
In addition to Chase and Andy’s impressive resumes DHP will have the support of one of the most impressive advisory boards in the country, including but not limited to professionals currently working in in the NHL, NFL, MLB, and NCAA. Click here to see the DHP advisory board.
The advisory board will provide the Denver Human Performance staff, TPH and their athletes with the most up to date science, training methods and data in the strength and conditioning industry.
Engdahl added “I speak for both Andy and I when I say that we could not be more excited to partner with an organization such as TPH that shares the same vision and passion for helping youth athletes achieve their goals here in Denver. We believe that through collaborative efforts with the TPH staff, we can help take TPH’s already proven development model to the next level by providing an unparalleled training experience.”
“At TPH we are constantly striving to provide our athletes every opportunity to develop to their fullest potential,” Pietrus adds. “To have access to industry leaders in not only Strength and Conditioning, but areas such as Nutrition, Exercise Science, and Kinesiology is a big deal for our coaches and most importantly our athletes.”
To start working with Denver Human Performance and TPH right away, click here register for the TPH Colorado 6 Week Progression Program.
Total Package Hockey is pleased to announce that Derek Robinson and Angelo Ricci have come together in partnership with TPH to operate not only its current Denver location, but to also bring a second Center of Excellence to the state of Colorado at the Sport Stable in Superior. Robinson, the Executive Sports Director of RoughRiders Sports Club, and Ricci, Executive Director of the Colorado Thunderbirds, are combining forces with the long-term vision of strengthening hockey in the Rocky Mountain region. The two individuals and entities will partner with TPH in both the Denver and Superior locations. This unique partnership will allow these two leaders in Colorado youth hockey to work together in the Study, Train, Play academy style model to further develop aspiring elite 6-12th grade student-athletes from all over the Rocky Mountain region.
“On behalf of TPH we could not be happier to enter into this partnership, and that’s truly what this is – a partnership,” TPH CEO Nathan Bowen said. “What has been built in Superior is truly remarkable. The vision, facility and team members we have met are all first class in every sense of the word. The RoughRiders have a brand that is synonymous with quality and a culture that aligns with TPH. We look forward to this partnership in our efforts to strengthen the development of not just hockey players, but all student-athletes in the Rocky Mountain region.”
The Sport Stable is a truly one-of-a-kind facility and has quickly become a one-stop-shop for all athletes, regardless of their chosen sport, to get the tools needed to develop their game. The facility features two and a half ice sheets, three basketball courts, two turf fields, golf simulators, batting cages, a restaurant, coffee shop, barber shop as well as a variety of health, wellness and performance avenues for its student-athletes, including strength and conditioning, physical therapy and performance psychology consultation. In time, TPH hopes to expand the reach of its Center of Excellence model to the various sports programs housed inside the Sport Stable.
While the Sport Stable offers a plethora of opportunities for all student-athletes, the one piece its leadership has been looking to add is a proven academy-style training, learning and life-development model. Enter TPH and the Center of Excellence.
“We are so excited to launch the academy model at the Sport Stable,” Executive Sports Director Derek Robinson said. “It will provide our players with the best available training and a high-end education that will ultimately provide a better lifestyle for our families. We also know what Angelo Ricci has done for players in the state, and together, we will provide a path from 8U to 18U for Colorado players to stay home and get world-class training until they are ready for junior or collegiate hockey. Now with TPH and their national network and reputation for developing and advancing players, we have everything we need right here in the state for each individual to succeed.”
Just over one year ago TPH brought the Center of Excellence to the South side of Denver, and Angelo Ricci echoes Robinson’s excitement.
“For the past 12 years, Derek and his team have built a program from the ground up and I have a deep respect for what he and his team have done,” said Ricci, who is also the Executive Director of the Colorado Thunderbirds organization. “For the last decade plus, Derek and I have competed against each other, but we have also worked together. I am excited for this new venture and opportunity to work as one, in the best interest of all the student-athletes who want to take advantage of the academy model.”
In his earlier comments about the “high-end” education student-athletes will receive, Derek Robinson is referencing TPH’s best-of-both-world’s academics scenario. Student-athletes complete their NCAA-accredited coursework online, interact with their instructors virtually and have the option to take school home or on the road with them every day, with no fear of days missed due to the demands of being an aspiring elite athlete. At the same time, when student-athletes are on-site, they study under the direction of an academic leader who is focused on fostering a positive culture, maintaining accountability and putting a learning plan in place for each individual based on where, when and how he or she works best. This layered academic approach ensures that when it’s time for TPH student-athletes to focus on their sport, whether its training at the CoE, practicing with their club teams or jumping on a plane to travel to games, they are on-pace or ahead in their courses.
Current TPH-Denver Director of Hockey-Operations Jordan Pietrus oversees its Center of Excellence at Family Sports Center in nearby Centennial. TPH’s Denver-based CoE maximized capacity in year one and expects continued growth for the 2020-2021 school year. Ironically, Pietrus played two seasons of junior ‘A’ hockey with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL, where he was part of a Clark Cup Championship squad in 2005. He will support the setup and growth of TPH’s second CoE in the Rocky Mountain state.
“This partnership between these two long-standing leaders and their programs is a big step for the future and culture of Colorado hockey,” Pietrus said. “They both want to see student-athletes stay in state until they are ready to play and contribute at the junior hockey level. The CoE model offers a degree of flexibility that high-level athletes require if they are to pursue their sport, academic and future career goals. At the same time, there is a level of structure and detail on both the academic and sport side of the model that all kids need. There’s a daily schedule, classroom guidelines, clear expectations and ample opportunities for our staff to mentor our student-athletes on what it means to aspire to be elite and most importantly, how to get there. We also have data that shows just how beneficial our blended learning environment is when it comes to academics, rest, recovery and long-term athlete development. This model is proven and backed by results.”
The academic data Pietrus is referring to is highlighted in the graphic boxes in this release. The CoE model has grown to twelve locations and has been in existence since 2014. In that time, student-athletes across the country have been able to study and excel through TPH’s on-demand, blended academic learning model. And as Nathan Bowen points out, even during some of the challenges and uncertainties faced in our world today, TPH student-athletes continue to perform.
“Prospective Sport Stable CoE families might be interested to know that throughout this current COVID-19 crisis, our student-athletes across all Centers of Excellence haven’t missed a beat academically,” Bowen added. “Our academic outcomes continue to be extremely positive. Seniors are graduating and our student-athletes are staying on pace with their schoolwork. While routines have certainly changed for our student-athletes over the past several weeks, they have not had to transition from a learning standpoint which is one of the benefits of the academic model we implement in the CoE.”
Obviously, everyone’s hope is that once the CoE school year arrives in late August, we see what Bowen calls a “full return to normalcy.” In the event CoE’s are unable to operate like they did prior to the arrival of COVID-19, TPH has a plan in place to maintain the Study, Train, Play experience for all of its student-athletes.
“Families should rest assured that we will be prepared to mentor our Center of Excellence attendees in a safe, healthy and successful manner,” Bowen said. “We are currently crafting three potential options for the 2020-2021 school year that include hybrid, small group on and off-ice training sessions, revisions to our classroom layouts, increased policies with regards to sanitization, and if necessary, a virtual platform for us to train our student-athletes on in a manner similar to the TPH Virtual Hockey Development platform we have been using to service our student-athletes on for the past two months. The CoE really provides an ‘on demand’ experience, first and foremost on the academics side, something Derek wants for all Sport Stable CoE attendees.”
With the success of TPH’s Denver-based CoE and the announcement of its second Study, Train, Play model in the state of Colorado, TPH is looking forward to providing that “missing piece” for the Sport Stable in hopes that it will incentivize its Colorado-based athletes to stay home, enjoy the holistic experience of the CoE and maintain a quality of life that Bowen calls “second to none.”
“While every family’s situation is different, there really is no reason for an athlete to leave the state of Colorado to pursue his or her goals,” Bowen said. “On the hockey side alone, for TPH, Angelo Ricci and Derek Robinson to be joined together, we will do everything in our collective power to accelerate the development and advancement of the hockey players we support and make Colorado the premier destination for hockey players and athletes from other sports who have a desire to Study, Train and Play to their fullest potential.”
Interested families are invited to learn more about TPH’s Superior Center of Excellence during its upcoming virtual open house, scheduled for Thursday, June 11 at 7:00 PM MST via Zoom. A link to register is included below.
TPH Colorado is proud to announce that our Center of Excellence in Denver will be accepting figure skating student-athletes for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. TPH has been working closely with Denver skating coaches to develop a customized schedule tailored to figure skaters, allowing them to participate in 3 hours of on-ice each day with their individual coaches, as well as train off-ice with other aspiring elite athletes. Skaters will also participate in figure skating-specific off-ice classes such as ballet, yoga and more. Finally, student-athletes will then complete their academics in our blended learning environment, all between the hours of 7:00 AM and 4:30 PM.
The Center of Excellence offers skaters a selective environment where like-minded individuals challenge each other academically and athletically. Prospective CoE attendees will all have to complete TPH’s application process to be accepted for the 2020-2021 school year. Although the CoE has a selective environment, it does not matter what skating club you compete with. The Center of Excellence welcomes skaters from across Colorado to provide the best possible training environment as they push to achieve their academic and athletic goals. The academic experience, powered by Edmentum, is state certified, as well as NCAA and AdvancED accredited, ensuring students are challenged to the highest standard. The CoE is led by coaches, mentors, instructors and academic leaders who push student-athletes to be their best, both academically and athletically.
TPH is excited to welcome a new wave of aspiring elite athletes to the program from all skating clubs across Denver and the state of Colorado.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome figure skaters to our COE for the upcoming year,” TPH Colorado Director Jordan Pietrus said. “Figure skaters are among the most dedicated athletes in the world, and we know they will be a great addition to the TPH Family. We look forward to working with our incoming figure skaters and helping them grow within our Study, Train, Play model.”
If you are a figure skater and aspire to be elite, we welcome you and your family to join us for an open house exclusive to figure skaters on Thursday, June 4 at 7:00 PM. To receive the Zoom link and login info, please RSVP here.