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WLC Announces New Hockey Director and 18U Head Coach

By WLC Staff, 02/16/18, 5:30PM EST


The Washington Little Capitals is pleased to announce the beginning of a new chapter in the evolution of our 34-year old organization.   We are excited to announce the following important developments:

First, after an exhaustive national search that included more than 85 highly qualified applicants from the US, Canada and Europe, we are thrilled to introduce Matt Thomas as our new Hockey Director and Head Coach of our U-18 team.  Matt joins Little Caps from the UAH Chargers (D-I, WCHA) where he served as assistant coach for the past 5 years, helping to build the Chargers program into a WCHA playoff team.   Prior to UAH, Matt served as an assistant coach with the University of Denver (D-I, NCHC) for two years, and helped the Pioneers advance to the NCAA National Tournament in both seasons.  Matt began his coaching career as an assistant with the United States Naval Academy (ACHA).   Matt brings critical collegiate coaching experience to the Little Caps that is unparalleled in this area, along with a deep knowledge of the national collegiate and junior hockey communities.

Matt is a 2005 graduate of the US Naval Academy where he was a 4-year letter winner and team captain.  He subsequently served as a Surface Warfare Officer where he completed three wartime deployments.   We believe Matt will be an excellent role model for the young men and women in the WLC organization, and we are delighted to welcome him, his wife Christine, and their two young daughters back to the Washington area. 

We would like to thank Dan Jablonic for his many years of dedication to building the WLC  program and wish Dan and his family good luck during his next chapter with USA Hockey. 

Next, after ably building and leading the WLC organization for over 10 years – including a generation of young hockey players who went on to compete at the highest levels of collegiate and professional hockey – our majority owner Brian Cullen has transitioned the WLC to new ownership.   Brian, with his friends Tom and Beth Lenz, deserves tremendous credit for building youth hockey in the Washington region into a thriving and competitive environment, and for instilling in our program the core principles that guide us today:  finding and developing the best hockey players in the Washington Area.  While we are sorry to see Brian go, we are all comforted to know that Brian, and more importantly Beth, will continue to manage the Kettler facility on an ongoing basis, and will stay engaged with the WLC organization for a transitional period to ensure the club continues to benefit from their experience and accumulated wisdom. We would also like to acknowledge and thank other current Board Members (in addition to previous Board members too!): Brad Surdam (25+ years with the Little Capitals program as a Board member, coach and mentor), Kyle Langston, Vic Hugo, and Vannessa Smingler. They have all contributed their time for betterment of the Little Capitals and the kids we serve.

WLC’s Executive Director and longtime Tier I coach, Doug Plocki, will continue to serve the WLC organization in this capacity going forward.   Doug is an excellent leader, mentor and role model, and we are incredibly fortunate to have him.  

WLC’s new owners, Ande Grennan and Brooke Coburn are passionate about the game of hockey, and look forward to building on the successful foundation that WLC has developed over the past several decades.   Among a number of important priorities, they are focused on enhancing the visibility and development pathways for WLC players seeking to play at the next level, to continue to refine our skill development programs, to involve elite college and professional coaches and players in shaping our player development programs (including the long list of WLC alumni who have gone on to play at higher levels), and further strengthening the culture and sense of community surrounding the Club.  We also expect to offer new Fall and Spring programs tailored to Tier I and elite multi-sport/scholar athletes, so they can continue to develop and compete outside of the AYHL and high school seasons.  We expect to share more details about our plans over the next few months. 

We couldn’t be more excited about the future for WLC, and give thanks to Brian, Beth, Tom, Dan and others who have played an instrumental role in building a solid foundation from which to build.   We look forward to introducing you to Coach Matt at our upcoming Tier I nights and tryouts.