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Board Election Candidates

Below are the candidates for the 2023 Board Election.

Ballots will be sent to the email used to register your player this season.  There will be five open seats to vote for.

Please take a moment to review our candidate profiles, then cast your ballot! 


2023 Ballot

PLEASE NOTE: All families are allowed one vote. You MUST be logged into sports engine profile used to register your player/s this season to vote.

Brian Gunther

What’s working with EVHA?

I believe the Eastview Association has created a positive environment where kids have the opportunity to learn the game of hockey and have fun while doing it.

What do you believe needs improvement?

I believe we can always learn new ways to grow the game and expand the Eastview brand. 

How will you add to what’s working and address what’s needed as part of your 3 year term?

As a board member I will support the athletes, coaches and community however I can to grow the reputation of an association that all people want to be a part of. I will listen to community feedback and try to provide actionable results. Actively participate on the board to keep the operations of the association moving forward in order for the association to thrive.

Why do you want to be an EVHA Board Member?

I want to support an association and community that has supported my son as a hockey player and me as a hockey coach. It takes all of us to do our part no matter how big or small.

What else would you like EVHA to know?

I get enjoyment out of seeing the smiles on the kids faces and listening to their excitement of playing the game of hockey with their friends. I want to keep that tradition going however I can.


Jason Haider

What do you believe is working with EVHA?

Our family joined the Eastview Hockey Association this year after the ISD #196 school realignment.  With years of personal and family hockey experience in many organizations, but only one with EVHA, I honestly do not have any strong thoughts/opinions on what "needs improvement."  Our family had a great first year in the program with one daughter on an 8U Eastview team and another daughter in the 10U Valkyrie program.  Our welcome to this organization has been met with hard working kids/leadership/coaches, positive learning experiences, and hockey memories.  I firmly believe a lot is working well in EVHA when my children tell me they are happy about the new change of association and the new friends in the locker room. 

What do you believe needs improvement?

With all being said, I do believe that there is always room for change and improvement.  Things are never perfect and a hockey association is in need of constant adjustment, improvisation, and honest reflections/assessments. I would be dedicated to looking at how things are working and operating while providing creative ideas and thoughts on how to orchestrate any needed changes. 

How will you add to what’s working and address what’s needed as part of your 3 year term?

I am not a candidate with a personal agenda, nor am I focused on any "one thing" that needs to be changed in the EVHA.  If elected, with two daughters in the Valkyries program, I would place emphasis on EVHA's involvement, work, and responsibilities that coordinate with the Valkyries program.  I feel the Valkyries program needs adequate representation on the EVHA board and I could assist with providing that.  Other than that, I entrust that through hard work and  the 3-year-term, I would be able to find the role where I could be most beneficial and effective for the EVHA.

Why do you want to be an EVHA Board Director?

I simply want to be a EVHA board member for the sport of hockey and the kids.  Anyone on the board belongs to a greater leadership team that works in a unified manner to improve a program that both attracts new hockey players and develops them appropriately.  The new board members need to remain focused on the greater good - the growth of young athletes, the betterment of a program, and the enrichment of sports experience for everyone involved. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

If elected, I will fulfill my obligation and do my absolute best to make EVHA a better association than when my family joined.  I am a dedicated person who is passionate about the game of hockey and the future of our children as they develop into student athletes.   


Cory Kellum

What do you believe is working with EVHA?

It was great to see the involvement of the varsity coaches had with the young players throughout the entire season. That type of involvement and collaboration across age groups is what long term can build a robust hockey program. 

What do you believe needs improvement?

At the mites level the kids need to be grouped together based on their current playing abilities as opposed to only being segmented by age. The kids who are already great skaters are often lumped with kids who are just beginning to learn. This situation can be difficult to coach as you have one kid skating backwards in circles while another is barely able to stand up. Quickly both of those kids get frustrated, the beginner isn’t getting the coaching attention they need and the great skater is getting board because they aren’t being challenged. This has also led to our 3rd grade mites not being prepared to start squirts.

 

With the older groups there has been a lot of focus on player development, but not nearly enough on team development. With squirts this year that led to there being four teams with 10-12 skaters each when there should have been 3 teams with 15 skaters. Substitutions were commonplace with the squirts frequently bringing up mites or having to share players across teams. While the kids may have had a bit more ice time, we also didn’t have any depth to the teams and the constantly changing roster didn’t help team development.

 

I would like to see the board include the parents at each level in the selection of the tournaments that the teams will be playing in. 

 

How will you add to what’s working and address what’s needed as part of your 3 year term?

I have no problem stepping on toes and challenging long standing traditions for the betterment of our kids and this program. I will also readily admit when I am wrong about an idea. I would like to establish what is good and working with the program and change the rest. This would include things like expanding the varsity involvement, doing things like mentorship where a group of varsity kids is assigned to each youth team, and having those varsity players join in on many of the youth practices.

Why do you want to be an EVHA Board Director?

I'd like to join our board because I don’t want to be the parent that just complains about things. I see things that need changing and would like to be part of that change.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I have three young boys in the EVHA program, two mites and one squirt, and I coach all three of their teams (though being on the ice with the mites is more cat herding than anything). As do most of you, we basically live at Hayes during the winter months, and I really wish I could get a cup of coffee from the non-existent concession stand there.  I also am the director of the EVAA lacrosse program, which is a GREAT spring sport for hockey players …..and registration is still open!

 


Chad Larsen

Incumbent 

What do you believe is working with EVHA?

I have been on the EVHA board for the past three years and am happy with the progress we have made as an association. We have seen an increase in numbers for incoming players. We have opened a dryland training facility allowing our players to continue developing their skills. We have seen tremendous success from our gambling (pulltabs) business at local establishments which lowers registration fees. This association is taking big strides in the right direction.

What do you believe needs improvement?

I would like to see a continued effort to work with the city to improve our hockey facilities. While this may not be a near-term solution, making necessary improvements is imperative for the future of our association. I also believe we need to take a deeper look at the leveling within our age groups. In order to keep families engaged and offer the best experience possible for our hockey players, it is imperative that we put teams in a level where they can compete and see some form of success.

How will you add to what’s working and address what’s needed as part of your 3 year term?

I would like the opportunity to continue my work as the 5K Shot Club and Dryland Facility Coordinator. The number of 5K Shot Club members has nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022 and I would like to see that number double again this summer. The dryland facility has become a great resource for our hockey players and I am hoping to maximize the facility's potential over the coming years.

Why do you want to be an EVHA Board Director?

I have enjoyed my time on the board and want to continue to help the association grow.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

The Minnesota State - Mankato Mavericks have won more hockey games in the last ten years than any other hockey program in the country. #HornsUp

Not relevant for board elections, but figured I would use this opportunity to point that out. Go Mavs!

 


Erik Nilsen

What do you believe is working with EVHA?

I believe we have a strong core of leaders and families who care a lot about the development of the kids and the program.  I believe that the program creates positive opportunities for kids of all ages to start playing hockey and developing at the right levels.  I have seen the EVHA leadership team begin creating more opportunities for the kids to use dryland facilities, outdoor ice, and group skills sessions to encourage development and teamwork. I love seeing the camaraderie that the teams develop and enjoy being at the various local rinks to visit with families and players as you hear about their seasons.

What do you believe needs improvement?

I want to help continue improving how we develop our kids as young student athletes and hockey players. I believe there is room for more structure behind our development, that Eastview players will and should be known for a particular type of play and sportsmanship.  I believe that we work to promote a program that is known for strong skating and creative play.  And, although the Eastview numbers are not as strong as they used to be, I still believe we can have our kids play at the right levels to be competitive, play in close games, and win our share of district games, playoffs, and tournaments.

How will you add to what’s working and address what’s needed as part of your 3 year term?

I want to help create more opportunities for the kids to be together; training, skating, watching, learning the game of hockey, but also working on their overall athletic skills and teamwork. I will continue to help foster a community environment that currently exists and build on that collaboration.  I will help develop programs throughout the year that drive consistency, opportunity and develop players that are known as strong skaters, creative playmakers, and are respectful to the game of hockey.

Why do you want to be an EVHA Board Director?

I want to be a part of the EVHA board as I believe my experience as a coach and player can bring new ideas and strategy to the team. I have coached and played at many different levels.  I played hockey through college at Concordia Moorhead and have coached at the Bantam, Squirts, and Mite level along with training the top US Women’s skaters in the late 90’s. I still play twice a week today and enjoy the physical workout and creativity the game provides. I have a strong passion to help all kids grow and develop in this great game, and I have come to know many of them the past 3 years (coaching squirt and mites for my 3 kids). I enjoy seeing them succeed, celebrate progress, and winning.  I take a lot of pride in this small community of Eastview, and the many athletic programs we provide.  Myself, along with my wife Nickie (’99 Eastview Grad), have been involved in coaching or managing Eastview Football, Baseball, Soccer, and Hockey.  One of our favorite off-ice moments was the Eastview Soccer coaches vs. the Eastview Hockey coaches last Fall in a game of soccer; what a great event!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am competitive, but I also believe in a process.  I have said for years in coaching, “you don’t win or lose – you win or learn.”  I have always been a coach by nature.  I am a leader at work and have held leadership roles throughout my career.  In addition to my experience coaching hockey, I have also coached football, soccer, tennis at the youth levels.  I am competitive and I look forward to being a part of a leadership team that will help guide this Eastview Hockey Program to more success for many years.

 


Niels Schapochnicof

What do you believe is working with EVHA?

The girl’s program has been our biggest showcase. The merger was a great success and now it guarantees the future of the program by increasing enrolment numbers, better administration and better communication. Winning record helped a lot as well in terms of recruitment. Alignment with High School boys’ program has taken some traction and seems to be what we need for better development. Having input and hands on participation from the high school coach has brought the boys a better vision of what is expected of them in the future. The summer programs designed and ran by the high school also have been a huge step on the right direction of development and expectation process. Young player will always look up and try to follow the lead of high school players, that connection is priceless and should not only continue, but increase all the way from mites to bantams.  

What do you believe needs improvement?

For starters, leadership. For some time, leadership has taken a very disorganized, soft approach and lacks strong decision making to improve the program and increase development. A restructure and reorganization are in order to better attend the different levels of play and it is time to make sure that personal opinions stop interfering with development. For way too long we have seen neighboring associations thrive at their younger levels and I feel that Eastview Hockey has stopped in time. We had the chance to capture several new players with the district realignment, but we did not. Kids should be eager to join us, instead they easily decided to stay where they are because we don’t offer anything better. The potential is here, we just need to use our resources better and make this program a showcase. Parent coaching has to come with better guidelines, limits, expectations and time frame, possibly directed more to the younger levels where “learn to skate” is more important than game structure. A former high school player from 20 plus years ago does not always have the capability or ability to coach today’s youth. Things have changed, the game have changed. It is time we move forward and update. One more thing is the volunteering system. It has not changed or improved for a long time, and it should be updated to better engage families and help the program more instead of holding parents hostage to a U$300.00 check. Entry level families feel intimidated and do not participate.

How will you add to what’s working and address what’s needed as part of your 3 year term?

From experience leading two other successful programs for EVAA totaling over 1200 combined kids per year, I would bring in “outside the box” thinking from other sports that suits the hockey community to strengthen the connections with the high school, improving communications, partnerships and development models to further the development of our players. I will further develop our coaching staff and find more outside coaching options to eliminate personal opinion and bias to create a more equitable and rewarding experience for all players.  I will improve the tryout process to make sure all teams are formed AND classified according to their appropriate level and skill. Recruitment and retention will also be a top priority and I will work to make hockey information very clear for any parent, especially new families to the program. Tournaments will also be thoroughly researched to ensure that each selected tournament is appropriate for our program and level of play. Plan on making better use of the budget to engage more with our whole community and not just hockey centered events. Use more financial resources for coaching and development. Trim down board leadership to a more organized number and level.  We currently have close to 20 overall members to care for less than 500 kids, that number is way too high. The expression “too many cooks in the kitchen” does apply well. Board communication and sync is a must have for a successful program and too many members create chaos and responsibilities become diluted.

Why do you want to be an EVHA Board Director?

It saddens me seeing this program drive in the wrong direction due to poor decision making and lack of stronger leadership and I believe I have what it takes to turn it around.  Sitting on the bleachers and complaining is easy, I am ready to get in and help fix it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I will always speak my mind and not always use my filter when I should, but I believe that is what makes me the best option to take this program in to the future. I have no personal gain from this position, my son has two seasons left and at this point he is not sure if he will come back. I always will have the kids’ best interest at heart, not my own hopes and dreams. I am not a hockey player, never been and too old to become one, but I have the experience in bringing programs back to life and thrive over others.  My focus is on the kids and the betterment of their experience in hockey, I will fight to make sure each child has the experience that will instill a true love of the game, their team, and the camaraderie that comes from a strong and positive program.  I have no fear of a good healthy debate and argument as long as the topic is the program and the kids. In my view, there is no room for small politics or personal favorites in youth sports.

 


Dean Schiro

Incumbent 

What do you believe is working with EVHA?

I believe EVHA provides a great opportunity for kids to learn the sport of hockey and to build friendships on and off the ice. The experience is offered in a way that is affordable to parents in part to the charitable gambling support. The association needs to continue to ensure hockey stays affordable to families. In addition, the parent community is a key part to the success of EVHA. The association needs to continue to grow participation of kids at all levels. We need to make sure the experience continues to be fun for the kids.

What do you believe needs improvement?

The association needs to continue to grow participation at the mite levels. At the traveling team level there needs to be a look at appropriate team leveling as compared to other D8 associations.

How will you add to what’s working and address what’s needed as part of your 3 year term?

I would work to continue the EVHA efforts to make hockey accessible and affordable to families. I will be eager to support any of the committees key the operation of the association. This would then result in providing a successful experience for the kids and families. It is through this that the association will continue to grow and be a success.

Why do you want to be an EVHA Board Director?

A key to EHVA is the parent community support. We are a community depending on parent volunteers and I see this as my way to give back to the association. I have seen the opportunity the program has provided my son over the years, and I want to ensure that continues for all the kids.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I do not have a hockey background however I have seen the enjoyment through my son over the years.

 


Timothy Schmidt

What do you believe is working with EVHA?

The kids have ample ice time

What do you believe needs improvement?

Communication and planning

How will you add to what’s working and address what’s needed as part of your 3 year term?

We need better communication with families and better planning for events

Why do you want to be an EVHA Board Director?

I have played sports my entire life, I see a need for improvement in Eastview youth hockey

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

No.


2023 Ballot

PLEASE NOTE: All families are allowed one vote. You MUST be logged into sports engine profile used to register your player/s this season to vote.