The Little Caps are pleased to announce that Director of Player Achievement Duante Abercrombie has accepted a position with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In his new role as Coaching Development Associate with the Leafs, Duante will be involved in all facets of the three coaching staffs in the organization-- the NHL Leafs, AHL Toronto Marlies, and ECHL Newfoundland Growlers-- gaining valuable experience, working with numerous coaching staffs, and contributing across a wide spectrum of development.
For the past four seasons with the Little Caps, Abercrombie served as Head Coach for two midget squads and in his latest role as Director of Player Achievement.
"Crazy as it sounds, that's exactly what Duante did for us here," says Little Caps Hockey Director Matt Thomas."His role as Director of Player Achievement was to work up and down our club, with each squad and coaching staff-- wearing a lot of hats, adapting quickly and repeatedly, sometimes working with three or four teams in a single evening."
Abercrombie is an alumnus of Gonzaga College High School (Class of 2005), where he helped Gonzaga win 4 MSHL/ MAPHL Championships, multiple Purple Puck Championships, and numerous games over nationally ranked prep school programs, as a player (2001- 2005) and a coach (2008- 2013). He also coached at Georgetown Preparatory School, and in his ﬁrst year, he helped lead his team to its ﬁrst IAC Championship. For the past three seasons, he's served on the coaching staff at Stevenson University (NCAA Division 3), 48-18-4 record overall, including two 18-win seasons. Premiering earlier this year, Abercrombie was the subject of the 'NHL Bound' video series, documenting his involvement as one of two black coaches in the Arizona Coyotes' inaugural coaching internship program. Click here to view the video.
"Duante is a great example to all young inspiring professionals - in any field - believe in yourself, work as hard as you can, and good things will come your way," says Little Caps Executive Director, Doug Plocki. "We will miss Duante for sure, but could not be happier for this impressive young man."
Little Caps founder, John Osidach was named the recipient of the 2022 USA Hockey William Thayer Tutt Award.
To read more about it, click on the link below.
The Washington Little Capitals are pleased to announce that the Club has been accepted into the Tier-I Elite Hockey League for the 2022-23 Season. Comprised of many fellow NHL-branded teams, along with traditional Midwest Powerhouses, the T1EHL will provide a stern test for all seven Little Caps teams next season.
“This is a big deal for our players and families,” states Executive Director Doug Plocki. “It adds a second, hugely-competitive aspect to our season, along with the extra exposure our players deserve.”
"The Tier 1 Elite League is the top nationwide showcase circuit in the nation,” says Hockey Director Matt Thomas. “Membership means we can better canvas the nation, and add new, quality exposure events in major Midwest Jr/NCAA hubs. This is an exciting new challenge and opportunity for Little Cap players."
WLC Midget Teams will compete in five league events (3 league-wide showcases, 1 regional event, and playoffs). Our Bantams will participate in three (2 showcases plus playoffs), and our Peewees in two. The T1EHL is thus an ideal complement to our AYHL schedule – all WLC teams will have a rigorous non-league schedule, balanced and predictable travel, and will remain at ideal game counts to keep our focus on player development.
“The T1EHL is an ideal match because it is extremely competitive and well organized, and offers our players the chance to compete with some of the best players in the country as part of their development.”
“But this is about more than just hockey,” Plocki says, “we feel that many of the current T1EHL clubs represent the same ideals we do in terms of developing great hockey players and preparing them for the next level, but also equipping young men and women for success off the ice as well. It’s a privilege to join this league.”
“This demonstrates our commitment to developing and advancing our players,” says Thomas, “and shows our organizational commitment – from the WLC Board down to each of our coaches - to pursuing the top competition in America.”
“The WLC is delighted to be a partner in the T1EHL,” adds Club Owner Ande Grennan. “This will add a national competitive platform for the Club that will be commensurate with the AYHL as well as being able to provide our players more exposure throughout the US.”
You can find more details on the T1EHL here: https://tier1elitehockeyleague.com
Interested in learning more about the Little Caps? Check us out here: https://www.washingtonlittlecapitals.com
The Little Caps are pleased to announce that Director of Player Development Lyon Messier will coach the Peewee Minor (2011) for 2022-23 season.
Messier grew up in the Washington area and played youth hockey with the Northern Virginia Ice Dogs and the Little Caps. He then played junior hockey for the Texas Tornado in the North American Hockey League (NAHL), where he won a national championship, and later with the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League (USHL). He played major junior hockey in Canada for the Kelowna Rockets (WHL) and Erie Otters (OHL), before moving on to play pro hockey for the New Mexico Scorpions of the Central Hockey League (CHL). He was invited to the New York Rangers main camp, played an AHL game, and then went to the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) where he won the Kelly Cup with the South Carolina Stingrays. "I feel confident my experience can help our players,” Messier says.
Messier is also the owner and operator of the Messier Selects program, providing spring and summer training and showcase opportunities for area players.
Hockey Director Matt Thomas doesn't mince words in his praise of Messier, saying "Lyon is a true professional-- you can see his respect and passion for the game in how he prepares and goes about his business. For a kid in this area still learning about the skills, tactics, and mindset of high-level hockey, I can't think of a better Head Coach than him."
The Little Caps are pleased to announce that Craig Desjarlais will return to serve as Head Coach of the PeeWee Major (2010) squad for the 2022-23 season.
This past season, Coach Desjarlais led the 2010 team to the AYHL Playoffs Championship game.
Craig is a hockey lifer. Born and raised in Canada, he worked his way up through the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League before departing Canada for the United States. He was a four-year letter winner at Bowling Green State University (NCAA Div. I), where he graduated with a degree in Business Communications. Craig then pursued a 5-year professional career with the New Orleans Brass (ECHL), Toledo Storm (ECHL), and Knoxville Icebears (SPHL). Craig was named to Knoxville’s All-Time Franchise Team in 2012.
Following his pro career, Craig launched a successful business in Loudoun County, and 15 years on remains President and CEO of that organization. And he has continued his hockey career as well, building a wealth of experience he now brings to the Little Caps. Craig has over 20 years of experience combining coaching and instruction at some of the most established and successful hockey teaching academies in North America. He has worked as Head Instructor at both the Huron and Turcotte hockey schools, as well as working with youth hockey programs at Bowling Green and Knoxville. He has served as Mid-Atlantic Region scout for the Boston Bandits (USPHL – NCDC). More recently he has turned his efforts to youth hockey in Virginia and Maryland, coaching nearly every level from Mite to Midget, including several trips to USA Hockey National Championships.
“Craig did a terrific job leading the 2010 squad last season,” says Hockey Director Matt Thomas. “This group will remain in excellent hands as they look to build on a great first season of AAA hockey.”
The Little Caps are pleased to announce Brad Kostrzebski will serve as Head Coach of the Bantam Minor (2009) for the 2022-23 season.
Brad Kostrzebski grew up in the Washington area playing for the Prince William Panthers and Washington Little Caps youth programs. He then played junior hockey for the Potomac Patriots and won a state championship with Woodbridge High School. He played college hockey at Christopher Newport university, winning two Blue Ridge Hockey Conference Championships. After getting into coaching with Pro Ambitions summer clinics he spent 1 year coaching U16 AA for the Patriots and 2 years with the Little Caps. Brad also coaches for the Messier Selects Spring program.
"Brad joins a strong wave of young, local alumni who are returning to contribute to the club," says Hockey Director Matt Thomas. "I'm very pleased with what I've seen from him the past two years-- he's organized, disciplined, committed, and he's extremely hungry to get to work with the 2009's."
The Little Caps are pleased to announce Bryan Reel will return to serve as Head Coach of the Bantam Major (2008) for the 2022-23 season.
A Pittsburgh native, Coach Reel played for the North Pittsburgh Wildcats and attended Penn State University. Prior to this season with the Little Caps, he coached squirts, peewees, and bantams locally in the Ashburn Xtreme program, accumulating 4 CBHL Regular Season Championships, 3 CBHL Playoff Championships, 2 VA State Championships, and a trip to the USAH Nationals. Coach Reel is a level 4 certified USA Hockey coach.
“Coach Reel really hit the ground running with the 2007's this season,” says Hockey Director Matt Thomas. “I’ve been extremely impressed with his developmental vision and how it aligns with our club model—the ’08 group is going to be in excellent hands next season.”
The Little Caps are pleased to announce Joshua Beck will serve as the Head Coach of the 15U Midget Team for the 2022-23 season.
Originally from Scituate, Massachusetts, Beck played youth hockey for the Bay State Breakers. He then played junior hockey for the Seacoast Spartans Prep where he led the team in points. After the Spartans, he attended and played for Babson College (NCAA DIII) Program. Beck graduated from Babson College in 2020 with a degree in Business & Entrepreneurship. In 2017, Beck represented Team USA for the 20th Maccabi Games in Jerusalem, Israel, and won the Silver Medal. His 2021-22 18u squad led the way for the club; only narrowly missing a trip to USAH Nationals, falling 2-1 in the Southeast District Championship game.
“Josh is precisely as advertised—sharp, organized, and high energy,” says Coach Thomas. “He’s done remarkable things in developing his players the past couple seasons, and I’m excited to see what he can do next year.”
In addition to his Little Caps duties, Coach Beck is also a Regional Scout for Spruce Grove Saints, Jr. A Hockey Club of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) and Capital District Regional Scout for Neutral Zone, the leading amateur scouting website in North America.
The Little Caps are pleased to announce Alex Guerere will return as Head Coach of the 16U Midget Team for the 2022-23 season.
Prior to this season with the WLC 15u squad, Coach Guerere spent the past four seasons with the Ashburn Xtreme club, earning numerous accolades: EJEPL Championships, CBHL Regular Season and Playoff Championships, and National Tournament appearances. In addition to working with the Xtreme, Coach Guerere worked with Bishop O’Connell and ColdRush.
As a player, Coach Guerere played for both the Washington Little Caps and Washington Jr Nationals prior to attending the University of Delaware, where he played for the ACHA Division 1 team.
“Alex has been everything we'd hoped for with the 15u squad this season.” says Hockey Director Matt Thomas. “There’s just a lot to love about him-- he’s passionate, accomplished, driven, and he’s lived it all himself as a Little Caps alumni… we’re thrilled to have him leading the 2006's again next season.”