Florida Jr. Blades Announce Coaching Staff for 22-23 Season
ESTERO, Fla. -- The Florida Jr. Blades announced their coaching staff for the 2022-2023 season on Saturday afternoon. Florida will return their entire coaching staff from the end of last season, which brought both Elite and Premier programs to post-season berths. A key addition to the staff this season, Associate Head Coach Doug Rose, will be joining the Blades after spending last year as an Assistant Coach with the Philadelphia Little Flyers of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL).
Head Coach/ Director of Hockey Operations: Rod Simmons
Rod Simmons brings over 30 years of hockey experience to the Junior Blades organization. Prior to joining the Blades, Simmons was Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach of Bridgton Academy (USHS-Prep).
Simmons' coaching career began in 1998 in Junior Hockey Ontario, from there he has coached in numerous leagues including NCAA, and Junior teams throughout the USA and Canada. Simmons has been named Coach of the Year four times in 2 different leagues, as well as developing multiple NCAA Division 1 hockey players.
Associate Head Coach: Doug Rose
Doug Rose will enter his third season of coaching, his first with the Florida Jr. Blades. The Philadelphia, PA native split his junior hockey career between the Philadelphia Little Flyers and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, where he would eventually win the Robertson Cup in his final year of eligibility. Following his Junior career Rose committed to playing NCAA DIII hockey at Neuman College before transferring to Stevenson University in his third year.
Following his collegiate career, Rose would go on to play two years of professional hockey in Knoxville, TN and the Netherlands where he also served as the team's video coach. Rose would then move to coaching full time in 2020 where he took a head coaching job with the Maine Nordiques U16 AAA Academy team. In 2021 he would return to Southern, PA to take an Assistant Coaching position with the Philadelphia Little Flyers in the EHL.
"Coming down to join the Jr Blades presents an exciting opportunity for myself and family, as we plan to call SWFL home for the foreseeable future. All conversations with Coach Simmons have been positive as we get on the same page. I'm looking forward to learning more from Coach, as we continue preparing for the upcoming season."
Assistant Coach: Eric Mabie
Mabie, a native of Coral Springs, FL. is currently in his fourth season as the associate head coach with the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Prior to his time behind the bench, Mabie played at FGCU for five seasons amassing 140 points in 136 games.
Goaltending Coach: Jordan Bustard
Bustard, a native of Flanders, NJ currently serves as the Sports Performance Coach for Hartlieb Elite Athletic Training (HEAT) and an Assistant Coach with Florida Gulf Coast University. Bustard played his collegiate seasons split between University of Massachusetts Boston (NCAA Div. III) and Florida Gulf Coast University (ACHA Div. II) starting 60 games over four seasons.
The Florida Jr. Blades will be hosting two camps this Summer for prospective players that are open sign up. These camps will be held on April 22-23 and June 17-18 and are open to both returning players as well as new skaters (2002-2006 birth years). For more information on camps or to register for one or both of these dates please visit https://www.floridajrblades.com/camps.