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Life After Hockey: Rockets Alumni News

-Coach Marcel Comeau has been a professional scout for the NHL Atlanta Thrashers since 99/00, and was promoted to Head Scout in 2003. In the summer of 2011, the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and (again) became the Winnipeg Jets. Marcel is the Director of Amateur Scouting for the organization. He and wife Christie still reside in Federal Way, Washington.

-according to new email penpal Drew Schoneck, Alex Alexeev is married with one little one, working as a home builder in the Puyallup, Washington area. I believe he makes his home in Gig Harbor, WA.

-"Original Rocket" Laurie Billeck works for Pierce County (WA). He married Sarah Gendreau, the figure skating coach at Sprinker Rec Center in Pierce County.

-Jamie Black....He and his wife Tera had their first baby, daughter Hayley in February 2003. Their 2nd daughter Cassidy was born in 2007. Jamie retired from playing hockey after injuries side-lined him most of the 03/04 season. Tera was the Chief Operating Officer of the San Diego the time, the only female to hold that distinction in the ECHL. In 2006, Tera was named the Vice President of the ECHL Charlotte Checkers. In April 2007, Jamie was named new Head Coach of Team USA/Carolina Jr B hockey team in the CHA (in Charlotte NC). The Blacks make their home in Matthews, North Carolina. Tera's Checkers now play in the AHL. Jamie occasionally plays Men's Senior "beer league" hockey in the area.

-Van Burgess is making his home these days in Lexington, Kentucky. He last played pro hockey with the ECHL Lexington Men O' War, and decided to put down roots in that city when he retired in 2003. Van is a Service Manager with Cintas, married to Christi, and they have 2 sons Quentin and Colin. Van says he enjoys coaching the boys in baseball and hockey. Colin plays on the same team as Todd MacDonald's son Spencer in Cincinnati, and dads Van and Todd help coach the team.

-Jamie Butt still owns a landscaping business and lives in Buckley, Washington. In July 2005, Butt was invited to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, where he finished 54th and took home a nice cash prize.
p.s. don't ask him what his "secret to success" was during the tournament! I received an email from wife Jessica recently, who tells me they have 2 kids; daughter Ariana and son Dawson (and also plays hockey like his dad).

-I received an email from Trevor Cairns' wife in 2008, and she was looking for one of his old Rockets jerseys for their son, who just started playing organized hockey. Not sure where they're living these days, but his young son is a hockey player just like his dad.

-Jeff Calvert is a firefighter in his hometown of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He is married to Joanne, and they have 1 child, born in September 2003. He played senior hockey for Humboldt Indians (Saskatchewan) in 2003/04 with fellow former Rocket Tyler Prosofsky. In early 2007, Calvert was the Moose Jaw Warriors goalie for their alumni game vs Regina Pats alumni. Seems like Jeff often plays goal for the Moose Jaw alumni games.

-Luke Curtin married Nichole in mid-September 2007. Looks like they now have a little girl, and they live in Central Valley, California. He had re-signed for another year with ECHL Fresno Falcons in 2007, where he was a long-time fan favorite (a local fan there tells me the team's first promotional giveaway of the 07/08 season was a kid-sized Curtin jersey). I myself have his stadium giveaway Bobblehead! He was a perennial ECHL All Star, leading scorer and team alternate captain. It looks like Luke retired in 2008 after the Fresno franchise folded. Luke and fellow former Rocket Kory Mullin played in a marathon 40+ hour "hockey-thon" in Bakersfield, California to raise money for cancer research, both playing for the West Coast alumni team in the February 2009 event. I just recently stumbled upon Luke's new web page, and his new marketing business. In 2010, Luke was selected to the ECHL "All Decade Team," voted on by fans, and in January 2011, was elected to the ECHL Hall of Fame.

-Jason Deleurme had been making his hockey living in Germany since 2000, last signed with Dresden Ice Lions in late 2007, and playing there through 08/09. He and wife Alana had daughter Emma in spring 2008. Baby Alexis was born in summer 2010. Natives of Kelowna BC, Jason and Alana spend their off-seasons there, and JD often joins the Kelowna Rockets organization for alumni events. JD signed a contract to play with Victoria Salmon Kings in the ECHL for 09/10, and then moved on to CHL Colorado Eagles in October 2009 and Wichita Thunder in November. The Deleurmes then started the new year in Sweden with JD's new team Visby Roma, after signing a contract and travelling 30 hours with baby Emma in tow. JD came back from the 3rd tier Swedish league in March 2010 to join CHL Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, who had acquired his rights in an earlier trade. In October 2010, JD joined CHL Bloomington Prairie Thunder, and was elected captain by his new teammates. It appears that JD has finally retired in late 2011, and is a full time businessman in hometown Kelowna BC.

-Kim Dillabaugh was an assistant/goaltender coach for the WHL Kelowna Rockets 04/05-13/14. You can also find him on, where he is a contributing writer and manager. Kim is also a goalie coach at a Kelowna private hockey school (Edge of Excellence) and a goalie consultant for GDI (Goaltending Development Institute) in Vancouver BC for 10 years. He has also worked with Hockey Canada's U-18 team and Program of Excellence goaltenders. Kim has been the AHL goalie coach for Lehigh Valley and is the NHL Philadelphia Flyers goalie coach 15/16-21/22. He and wife Bonnie make their home in Kelowna.

-Allan Egeland had re-signed for his 4th year as assistant coach of the ECHL Charlotte Checkers in 2007. He worked for Jamie Black's wife Tera (see above), and I imagine he's still an avid golfer in the off-season. Eggy won't return to the Checkers in 08/09, so I'm trying to find out the latest on his after-hockey career. He is married to the former Holly Lewis, whom he met in 1995 in Atlanta when he played with the IHL Knights. They married in 2001 and have 2 kids.

-Marty Flichel was a fan favorite in Boise Idaho with the ECHL Steelheads- "Flick" just re-signed for 08/09, and the team captain hopes to bring another league championship to Idaho. He is married to Tacoma native Rachel, and daughter Brinley was born in November 2005. Their 2nd daughter was born in spring 2008. Marty has also owned/operated "Flick's Landscaping" in the Boise area in the hockey off-seasons since 2004. Marty was named player/assistant coach for 09/10. In the off-season, Marty runs his own summer hockey clinics in Boise for Boise Hawks Youth Hockey. The Steelheads made it to the ECHL finals in 2010, and Flick will return for his 9th season in 11/12 as the franchise's all-time leading scorer. In 2012/13, Flick has retired from professional hockey after a long and successful career. He's now a mortgage originator and has 2 daughters Brinley and Rylee.

-Original Rocket Tuomas "Osku" Gronman retired from playing a few years ago due to a severe knee injury, but he's been working as a SM Liiga (Finnish Elite League) print journalist and tv commentator since 2007. He's also working on his Master's degree, studying psychology at the University of Turku. He and wife Jenny live in Littoisiin, outside Turku. The Gronmans have a daughter Oona, who will start 1st grade in fall 2010, and son Otto, who is 2. In 1998, Gronman was a member of the Finnish Olympic hockey team that won a bronze medal in the Nagano, Japan Olympics.

-Michal Grosek is married to Bridget and they have 2 kids, son Logan and daughter Pirson. I've seen on his Facebook page that they have a 3rd tow-headed baby, so that makes 3 kids now. He had re-signed to play 2 more seasons in the Swiss Elite Hockey League, after a successful first season with HC Geneve Servette in 2004/05. He then played part of 05/06 in the Russian Hockey League with St Petersburg and returned to Switzerland in 06/07. After being released by EV Zug in late January 2008, Grosek had signed with Leksands of the Swedish Elite League. In September 2008, he has signed to coach 2nd tier team CP Meyrin in Switzerland. He was still in this same role in 2014.

-...Did You Know???...former Rockets Lada Hampeis and Jeff Jubenville both appeared as hockey player extras in the 2004 Disney movie "Miracle" that was filmed partly in the Vancouver BC area- Hampeis played a Czechoslovakian player and Jubenville played famed Russian player Vladimir Petrov on the top line in this movie about the 1980 USA "Miracle on Ice" at the Winter Olympics. Guess I'm gonna have to watch that movie a little more closely next time I view it......... In 2009, Hampeis also played a hockey stunt actor in the Duane Johnson ("The Rock") movie "The Tooth Fairy." Hampeis apparently still lives in the Burnaby BC area, plays rec hockey in a senior mens league and is now also an accomplished actor. Jubenville lives and works in Courtenay BC, near hometown Duncan BC.

-Quinn Hancock is married to the former Jennifer Ulmer. Her brothers are Jeff and Jason Ulmer, who have often played against Quinn around various minor and Euro leagues. Jen and Quinn are parents to one child, and their dog Red. Quinn signed on with Sonderjyske in Denmark for 11/12 season, and retired from playing professionally in 2012.

-Scott Hannan married Kristina Carlson in June 2008 in Santa Cruz, California. Scott and Kristina moved to Denver in 2007 when Scott went from the San Jose Sharks to the Colorado Avalanche as a free agent. Kristina gave birth to their son Gage Douglas on Jan 28, 2010. The couple also have a son Owen (unsure of his birthdate). Scott was then traded to the Washington Capitals in December 2010. Scott signed a 1 year contract to play for the Calgary Flames in summer of 2011, and in 2012 signed as a free agent with Nashville Predators. In April 2013, Hannan was traded back to the team that originally drafted him (San Jose Sharks) in an NHL Trade Deadline day deal with Nashville. Scott signed another 1 year contract to remain with the Sharks for 14/15 and after not receiving any contract offers for 15/16, announced his retirement from hockey in February 2016.

-Tavis Hansen re-signed with Swiss League team HC Tirol Innsbruck in 2006/07. Tavis suffered a nasty facial injury after getting hit in the face with a puck in early 2006. According to a German-language hockey weblog in Europe, he retired in summer of 2007. Hansen is now married and living full-time in the Seattle area. His wife is Karin, and it sounds like Tavis is a stay-at-home dad to young son Dane Andrew (born July 2005) and daughter Reese Jewel (born May 2007). Tavis is affiliated with Seattle area SnoKing Amateur Hockey Association as a hockey instructor.

-Burt Henderson retired at the beginning of 07/08 season, after playing in Japan in the Asian League for the past 8 seasons. He had moved back to native Vancouver BC, when he was signed in January to play in the UK for the Newcastle Vipers. He has recently signed on to play there in 08/09, but only played a handful of games due to a wrist injury. Hendu and his wife have 2 children, a daughter born in 2007 and a son in 2008. According to his Facebook page, they're back in Vancouver in 2009. Hendu is the Head Coach of BCHL Langley Rivermen in 2021/22.

-Chad Knippel lives in Sherwood Park, AB with "beautiful wife" Kelly and two "wonderful daughters" Parker (born 3/30/04) and Elliot (born 8/8/06). He works as a Chartered Accountant in Edmonton as a partner in one of the largest firms in the area. He went on to play hockey for the University of Lethbridge after leaving the WHL, and still plays rec hockey around Edmonton.

-Jason Knox is married to Jennifer and they have twins Reese and Ava. The Knox family has lived in the Colorado Springs area since Jason retired from playing professional hockey. He had been coaching Bantam and Midget hockey in the Colorado Spring Amateur hockey Association for a number of years, but I'm not sure if he's still there. He had most recently coached with the Pike Peaks Miners U16 team.

-Joel Kwiatkowski has a home in Grand Rapids Michigan where he spends time in the off-season, and participates in local golf tournaments as well as coaching in the annual summer youth hockey camps there. Joel is married to Jen, and they have 2 kids. Kiwi is also a guitarist, and is now famous for spending time on the road with hard-rock bands Cinderella and Poison through Michigan and Ohio in summer 2006, and even got the chance to do sound-checks with the bands during the tour. In 07/08, Kiwi signed with NHL's Atlanta Thrashers, and was selected as an AHL All Star for Team Canada, representing the Thrashers' farm team Chicago Wolves. Congrats to Kiwi and his Wolves teammates, as they won the AHL Championship in 07/08. Kiwi signed with the Continental Hockey League (KHL) Severstal Cherepovets in Russia for the 08/09 season. Kiwi also played for Team Canada in 2009 at the World Championships. He signed a 2 year contract with SKA St. Petersburg (Russian Lg) in 09/10. In 2010/11, Kiwi joined former Rocket Brett McLean in the Swiss League with SC Bern. Kiwi re-signed and played for Bern in 11/12 and now has played for Fribourg-Gotteron for 3 seasons, signing another contract for 14/15. Kiwi was still playing professionally in 2016, having moved to Sweden to play with MODO. Kiwi was assistant coach for ECHL Kalamazoo Wings 2016-2018.

-Former goalie Todd MacDonald now makes his home in Taylor Mill, Kentucky, with wife Becky and 3 kids (Spencer, 11, Kylie, 8 and Morgan, 2). Spencer plays youth hockey in Cincinnati on the same team with Colin Burgess, and dads Todd and Van help coach their sons' team. Thanks for the update, Becky!

-It seems that former Rocket Shane Maitland also became a corrections officer, at McNeil Island in Washington state, and was recently honored for his off-duty assistance to a fellow law enforcer with an arrest. I believe Shane is also active in the Steilacoom WA area in youth hockey.

-Kyle McLaren is married to Helga and they have 2 daughters, Samantha and Madison...and son Aydan was born in June 2005. Kyle and Helga got married at Disney World in July 2002. Mac represented Team Canada at the World Championships in the summer of '05. Mac was playing in the AHL with the Worcester Sharks in 08/09, waiting for an opportunity to return to the NHL. Wife Helga is thrilled to back in New England, as she grew up in Pawtucket RI. We're now waiting to see where Big Mac plays next, as he is a free agent in fall 2009. Mac was slated to try out for the New York Rangers in fall 2009, but an inury kept him from training camp. In September 2010, Mac was invited to try out for NHL Atlanta Thrashers, but was released. Mac is signed on with Celebrity Marketing Inc and appears in charity events, including softball games. Until he signs his next contract, perhaps the McLaren family can be found in their custom RV with their 2 dogs and 1 fish......Mac has been a broadcaster with Comcast Sportsnet in the Bay Area, and a Jr Sharks 18AAA coach.

-Brett McLean is married to Brenna and they have a daughter Darian, born in Denver in March 2007. They moved on to the Miami area when Brett signed on with the NHL Florida Panthers in the summer of '07. Brett became a free agent in summer 2009. Brett attended the Tampa Bay Lightning training camp in September 2009, but did not receive a contract. He signed to play for SC Bern in the Swiss Elite League (Oct 2009). Brett represented Canada during the long-running European Spengler Cup tournament held in Davos, Switzerland in December 2009. SC Bern won the Swiss League championship in 2010. Brett re-signed with Bern for 10/11, and was joined by fellow former Rocket Joel Kwiatkowski. Brett has also been named to represent Canada in Euro championship tourneys in winter 10/11, including the Swiss Challenge and Spengler Cup in Dec '10 and '11. In July 2011, Brett signed a one year, 2 way contract with Chicago Blackhawks (one of his former NHL teams). Brett started the 11/12 season with AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs, was waived by the Blackhawks in January, and went back to Swiss League with HC Lugano. He signed a new 1 year contract for Lugano for 12/13 and again in 14/15. Brett played for Linz EHC in the Austrian league 2015-2017, and retired from professional hockey at the end of the 16/17 season. He returned to North America and became the assistant coach of the Iowa Wild (Minnesota Wild's AHL affiliate) 2017-2020, and in 2020/21 became an assistant coach for NHL Minnesota Wild. The McLeans now live in Waukee, IA, and Darian has 2 brothers Nixon and Nash.

-Dave McMillen is a cattle rancher with brother Lee and dad Jim in Carievale, Saskatchewan in the family business (McMillen Ranching Ltd). I emailed Dave and received a confirmation email from wife Chris. I know that Dave is a minor league (atoms) coach in the Moose Mountain Minor Hockey League, and coached the Carnduff Red Devils B team to the league championship in 09/10. Wife Chris is the team manager.

-Kory Mullin took a leave of absence from his job as an EMT to play one last season for ECHL Fresno Falcons in 03/04. He had retired from hockey in 2003 to become a firefighter. It looks like he went back to the fire department in fall of 2004. Kory played in a cancer fundraiser "hockey-thon" 40+ hr marathon in February 2009 with fellow Rocket and Fresno alumni Luke Curtin.

-Dennis "Pinner" Pinfold.....last I heard, he was married to Erica and living in the Sumner, Washington area. Jessica Butt told me through a recent email that Dennis is working in Alaska but still makes his home in Sumner.

-Lasse Pirjeta was married to Pia (now divorced) and they have 2 sons, Joonas and Lucas. He moved on to play for Malmo in the Swedish Elite League in 06/07 and 07/08. Pirjeta was injured for most of 07/08, and returned to play for Lahti Pelicans in Finland in 08/09. He was a free agent in fall 2009, and looks like he's retired from playing hockey. He signed on with Heinola Peliitat as assistant coach in 2013.

-Tyler Prosofsky returned to his home in Canada (2004), reportedly because his young son was ill. He played senior hockey in Humboldt Saskatchewan with fellow former Rocket goalie Jeff Calvert in 03/04. Tyler still plays Senior hockey in the Saskatoon area. In 2007, it looks like Tyler has been busy coaching- first with Saskatoon Minor Hockey Raider IceDogs, then Saskatoon Falcons Minor boys softball. He was head midget hockey coach for the Renegades D program, as listed on a league website in fall 2009.

-Dale Purinton is married to New York model/actress Temple Greenleaf, and they have 3 sons- Vaughn Wyatt (5), Brando (4), and Hagan (born summer 2009). When he last played, he was a marquee player/tough guy for the Colorado Avalanche's new AHL team, Lake Erie, for 2007/08. He did sign on to play Sr AAA hockey in Lloydminster Saskatchewan (Border Kings) in Jan. 2009 and created an instant buzz among local fans. In mid October 2009, he was promoted to head coach of BCHL Cowichan Valley Capitals junior team for the remainder of the season, after coaching their Midget AAA team to start the season. The Purintons moved to Cowichan Bay BC in 2009. Dale moved on to coach VIJHL Kerry Park Islanders in 2012.

-Drew Schoneck finally retired from playing and was hired in the summer of 2004 to be Assistant General Manager and Assistant Coach of ECHL Las Vegas Wranglers. He was then hired in May 2005 as new Head Coach and General Manager of the OCN Blizzard in the MJHL. After coaching in the MJHL All Star Game and being named Coach of the Year in 05/06, Drew had moved on to Powell River, BC where he was named GM & Coach of the Paper Kings. In November of 2006, Drew joined former Rocket d-man Dallas Thompson in Prince George of the WHL as the new Head Coach. Wife Lindsey and son Connor joined him there for the 06/07 season. In the spring of '09, Drew moved on to become the new head coach and general manager of the TriCity Storm (based in Kearney, Nebraska) of the USHL, the top junior A developmental league in the US. The Schonecks gave Connor a sister named Ali in 2010. Drew was coach/GM of the Storm entering 11/12. Drew has since moved back to Alberta to work in the oil industry, now with TransCanada since early 2012.

-Corey Stock lives in hometown White Rock BC, with his wife and daughter. He is employed as an occupational therapist, and is still active with the University of British Columbia alumni association, including playing rec hockey with fellow UBC Alumni weekly. Corey graduated from UBC and then went on to attend McMaster University. He says he still travels to Tacoma at least once a year to visit his Rockets' billets!

-Barkley Swenson was at one time a professional "chuck wagon" driver/racer in his native Canada. Haven't seen any updates on his racing career lately. He had also been playing Sr AAA hockey in Lloydminster Sask.- where he and his team won the Allan Cup in 2001 (top Canadian Senior team). He has also played in SJHL Melfort Mustangs alumni games recently. I thought he was coaching kids in the Lloydminster area, but haven't seen any updates lately.

-Michal Sykora lives in home land of Czech Republic, and is a successful businessman after retiring from professional hockey. I believe he has a daughter.

-Original Rocket goalie Kelly Thiessen sent me an email in October 2009, saying how the website brought back great memories of his days in Tacoma. Kelly retired from hockey after his last game as a Rocket, and is now living in Lloydminster, Alberta, working in Research & Development in the oil industry. He and wife Christine have two kids: son Ty and daughter Katherine.

-Sad news to report: original Rocket captain Scott Thomas was the father of SJHL Humboldt Bronco player Ethan Thomas, who perished in a horrific team bus accident in spring 2018. Scott was asked by other family members to speak on their behalf at the 2018/19 season home opener, where all team members' numbers were retired and banners for every victim of the crash, including the head coach, team therapist, statistician and radio announcer, were revealed in a nationally broadcast event. Scott is now a chiropractor in his home province of Saskatchewan.

-Dallas Thompson is married to Brandi and is living in Prince George BC. He was promoted to General Manager of the WHL Cougars on May 1st 2004. He once hired Drew Schoneck to coach the junior team. Per my new "informant" Duane Crouse, Dallas sees former Rocket Kevin Malgunas quite frequently, as "Gooner" returned to his hometown of Prince George after hockey.

-Vaclav Varada's Czech Extraliga team Trinec Ocelari HC won the league championship in 2011. Vaclav will return to that team in 11/12. In early 2012, Vaclav played on loan with NC Slovan Usteci LVI. He finished his playing career with HC Trinec in 2013 as a player coach, and moved onto an assistant coach role in 2014.

-John Varga and wife Kellie own and operate "Cheer-Alliance" in the Chicago area suburb of St Charles. I'm hoping to hear back from the Vargas soon for more details. Their daughter is a tumbler in their program.

-Ryan Wade completed his 5th year of college hockey at the University of Alberta in 2004, where he was named the league MVP and was the leading scorer. Ryan signed an amateur tryout contract with AHL Houston Aeros in March 2004, and played one professional game that season. He signed to play for hometown Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL for 2004-05 season, and has been "Mr. Salmon King" for that franchise- scoring their first goals and playing all but one game in franchise history. He retired from playing professionally in September 2008, and will be the Salmon King's new assistant coach in 2008/09 (and has returned behind the bench for 09/10). Ryan is very active with the WHL Kelowna Rockets Alumni Association. He is also a stock car enthusiast, and a top racer on Vancouver Island. He and his team (including brother Lance) won their 3rd straight Island Racing championship in 2009. And he runs his own hockey school in the Victoria area in August (R.A.W. Hockey Skills School). Ryan and wife Charla reside in his hometown of Victoria, with stepson Tanner and daughter Ashlyn.

-my newest electronic penpal is Toby Weishaar, who discovered this website recently. He says that he has been married 5 years now to a "beautiful wife" who is a full-time pharmaceutical sales representative and part-time photographer. Toby has been a special needs teacher for grades 4,5, and 6 for the past 10 years. Together they have a 3 year old son, and it is hoped that he will be playing hockey like dad very soon. The Weishaars make their home in Sherwood Park, Alberta.

-still trying to locate original Rocket Jeff Whittle. I know he's been an active alumni participant with the Flint Generals, where he played for 5 seasons. He has played in Generals' alumni games, and was recently a pallbearer for a long-time Generals season ticket holder. I suspect he lives in the Flint/Detroit/Southern Ontario area-

-according to new electronic "pen pal" Kelly Thiessen, Original Rocket Joey (now just known as "Joe") Young is coaching the Lloydminster (Alberta) Bandits junior B hockey team. My research found that he's been coaching in the NEAJBHL for at least the past 3 seasons, winning 2 league championships. His team played for the Canadian Junior B championship in April 2009. Joe had a short minor league baseball career after he left the Rockets- having been drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays as a pitcher in 1993. He and younger brother Lenny are teaming up for the Bandits this season, after winning a championship together in Saddle Lake in 2007.

-Thanks to my email buddy former Rocket assistant trainer Duane Crouse, I've had some help compiling this "alumni" news. Good luck to you Duane on your November 2008 wedding- and with your "Brady Bunch"!

Click here to read/sign the on-line memoriam for Kevin Powell

If you have any bio information on the guys, please email me (link on the last page) so I can update this page!

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