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Coach Bios

HEAD COACH - PHA ICEMEN U18 TEAM: Cody Brightbill

Coach Cody Brightbill grew up in Annville, PA, just 10 minutes from Hershey, which is where he started his playing career with the Hershey Jr. Bears. He concluded his youth career with the Lancaster Firebirds and Annville-Cleona High School. Cody led the league in scoring his senior year at Annville-Cleona with 35 goals and 35 assists for a combined 70 points in 18 games. He then went on to play for Robert Morris University ACHA D1 team for four years. Cody served as captain his junior and senior years, never missed a game in his collegiate career, and was a 1st team All-Conference Defenseman. After college, Cody went on to coach the Burrell Bucs Division II Varsity team from 2017-19. He helped lead them twice to becoming PIHL Division II Championship runner-ups and 2019 USA Hockey National Championship runner-ups. Along with playing and coaching, Cody is a Level 4 USA Hockey official and Officiating Seminar Instructor with experience in NCAA D1 ECAC Women’s, NCAA D3 Men’s, and the NAHL. Cody currently lives in the North Hills and works downtown Pittsburgh. 

 

Co-Founder/POWERSKATING & SKILLS Instructor/Head Coach - U15: Dean Whittingham

Coach Dean Whittinghams love for the game of hockey began growing up and playing amateur hockey from Mite to Junior in Toronto, Canada, including 5 years in the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) at the AA/AAA levels.  

Dean has coached amateur hockey teams from Mite through U18 for the past 14 years, and currently serves as the Head Coach of the PITTSBURGH HOCKEY ACADEMY U15 AAA Birth Year team - The Pittsburgh Icemen.   The Icemen are playing an independant schedule against AAA U15 birth year teams.  Dean has also coached Freshman, JV & Varsity at the high school level for Pine Richland, and was a major contributor in forming the Pine Richland Development Hockey Program.  Dean served as the Director of Hockey Operations for over 7 years with a local organization.  During his tenure, several of Dean's initiatives included the formation, development and oversight of western PA's first ADM program, the re-design, implementation and oversight of the tryout process as well as the development of in-season player evaluations to name a few.  

He has also provide power skating and skills instruction for many years.

Dean is also part of the ownership group of the newly renovated Frozen Pond Arena.

Dean has held several industrial sales executive and sales management positions in Canada and the US.

Dean & Ellen currently reside in Pine Township with thier two kids, Kyle and Bethany.

 

Co-Founder/POWERSKATING & SKILLS Instructor/Head Coach-U16: Mike Fritz

Coach Mike Fritz played AA and amateur hockey in New Jersey from mite through midget, as well as being named First Team All-State as an eleventh grader playing for Seton Hall Prepatory High School where he scored over 100 points in 25 games.  In 1988, Mike left NJ and headed to the New England Prep school ranks attending Trinity Pawling School for two years.  While there, Mike captained both Varsity hockey and baseball teams as a senior.  Mike was later recruited to play for the Ephmen of Williams College by coach Bill Kangas, where Mike eclipsed the 100 point milestone.  Mike finished his playing career after 4 seasons of NCAA hockey for the Ephs.

For the past 12 years, Mike has coached youth hockey teams from Mite through Midget, and currently serves as Head Coach of the PITTSBURGH ICEMEN U16AAA team.  Mike's teams have won over 25 tournaments including the 2017 Mid Am District 14U T2 Tourney.  Mike's team also finished ranked #1 in the US MyHockeyRankings Tier II division for the 2015/2016 season.

Mike is also part of the ownership group of the newly renovated Frozen Pond Arena, and serves as President of Frozen Pond Management Inc.

"My passion for the game is immeasurable.  In a lot of ways, hockey has given me so much....this is a chance for me and Dean to give something back.  I enjoy the thrill and challenge of helping young hockey players become better players, but more importantly, better people."

Mike lives in Richland Township with his wife Tanya and their three children, Elli, Mikey and Isabella.​​

HEAD COACH - PHA ICEMEN 05 TEAM: Brian Gierczynski

Brian Gierczynski is a Pittsburgh native and a USA Hockey Level 4 coach. He grew up playing in the Pittsburgh Hornets organization before lacing up for Baldwin High School, where he was a 4 year Varsity letterman and a 2 time SHIHL AAA All Star.  He has played hockey all over North America as well as a stint in Omsk, Russia.

Brian is the Head Coach of PHA’s 2005 Icemen team. He has previously coached at the U14/U16/U18 levels of both AA & AAA hockey. He has coached players that have moved onto Junior, Prep School, NCAA, and ACHA programs.

Brian is co-founder of International Dryland Academy, which is a non-profit organization concentrating on off-ice hockey training where he specializes in Russian dryland training.  International Dryland Academy serves as the off-ice trainers of all PHA Icemen teams and is based out of Frozen Pond Arena.

He resides in Allison Park with his wife Anastasiya, puppy Lucy, and kitty Lilly.