Brad Stoffers

D1 Head Coach

Northern Illinois University has named Brad Stoffers the new Head Coach of their ACHA hockey team! Brad Stoffers comes to NIU from the Chicago Cougars in the USPHL Premier League. He was the first and only Head Coach in the team’s history joining in June 2015 as an expansion franchise in the league and quickly guiding them to a 39-9 record that first season. In his five total seasons with the Cougars an average of 14 players/season advanced their careers, including a total of 51 college commitments, 13 Tier 2 advancements, and 5 Professional contracts signed. His overall record was 155-58-10 (.695) and the team collected 3 Midwest East division championships in 5 years (2018, 2019, 2020) while finishing second in 2016.

During Stoffers tenure the Cougars were known as an offensive juggernaut, playing a modern and up-tempo style and allowing players individual skill to shine. This resulted in the Cougars leading the USPHL in Goals Scored twice (2015-16 and 2019-20) while finishing 4th in 2018-19. The Cougars potent Power Play was also ranked top 10 three times during his tenure including 1st in the league in both 2015-16 and 2019-20. Overall, the Cougars came to be known as a very skilled team that was hard to play against and tough to outscore. He will look to bring some of that talent and offensive philosophy to the Huskies which should make for an exciting brand of hockey for NIU.

Prior to his arrival in Chicago, Stoffers was most recently an Assistant Coach with the Springfield Jr. Blues (NAHL) and Head Coach of the Nashville Jr. Predators U14 AAA team. He does have previous college experience as a Volunteer Assistant Coach at NCAA Division 1 RPI in 2010 and 2012, on staff for the 2010 team that advanced to the NCAA tournament ending a 26 year drought for the two time National Champion Engineers.

Throughout the early part of his career Stoffers was a Strength and Conditioning coach working the Anaheim Ducks Player Development Camp in 2009 with prospects including Nick Bonino, Cam Fowler, Chris Wagner, Stephane Da Costa, Devante Smith-Pelley, and more. He served as Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Trenton Titans (ECHL) during the 2011-12 season, and was a Graduate Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Boston University while earning his Master’s degree in Education in 2010.

Stoffers has enjoyed working with players at the Junior level the past 5 seasons, but welcomes the opportunity to get back into the college game and build a program at NIU.“I am very excited for this opportunity and see a lot of positives here surrounding the program. I am embracing the change and look forward to building something special at NIU.”

 

 

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Wayne Bower

Associate Coach/General Manager/Director of Hockey Operations

Wayne comes to the Huskies after spending 16 seasons behind the bench at Crystal Lake South High School.  Wayne also spent 16 years as a member of the CLS board, serving more than a decade as vice president of the club along with handling all equipment and ice contracts.

Wayne will be a good addition to the NIU staff. His role will include scouting and recruitment of future NIU players along with support current GM and Hockey Director in a variety of essential duties.

He remains on the board of directors of the North Central Division of the Illinois High School Hockey League.

 

 

Jeremy Bower

D1 Assistant Coach

The 2022-23 season will see Jeremy Bower in his second year with the huskies program. Working primarily with the program’s Goaltenders in his first season Jeremy was responsible for practice planning, on-ice goalie sessions, in game stat tracking and analytics, and video. Jeremy has been a goaltender coach for the past 11 years spending the majority of his time prior to NIU working with Crystal Lake South High School (IL).

This season Jeremy’s role expands to include working with the full team

Jeremy received his undergraduate degree from Illinois State University and a Master’s degree from Aurora University. While at ISU, Jeremy was the starting goaltender for the Redbird inline varsity team. In addition to coaching goaltenders, Jeremy has formed a goaltending advisory company called Bower’s Blue Paint Goalie School. Where he spends time working with goaltenders of all ages both on and off the ice.

Eric Levine

D1 Goalie Coach

NIU Hockey is proud to announce AHL, ECHL, and SPHL Goalie and Owner of Midwest Goalie School Eric Levine will join the coaching staff this season and work with our team’s Goaltenders. Eric enters his 16th year coaching Goalies while continuing his long and successful professional playing career.

Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Eric was a student of the game very early on. Initially playing for the Glenview Stars and Skokie Flyers organizations he held on to his dreams to play hockey at a high level and took the next step by playing for the local Junior B team, the Chicago Force and continuing his Junior career with the Wellington Dukes (OJHL) and Pembroke Lumberkings (CCHL). While in Pembroke, he won back to back championships and was a first ballot selection on the All Star team his final season in Pembroke. He led the league in save percentage, GAA, and wins during their historic playoff run in 2008-2009, stopping 106 of 109 shots over the final two games.

His years of hard work finally paid off when he received a scholarship to play at Robert Morris University (NCAA D1). During his 4 year career he amassed a 30-22-11 record, 2.69 GAA, and .925 SV%. During his senior campaign, he set numerous RMU single season records including most wins (19), saves (1,148), shutouts (4), GAA (2.40), saves per game (32.80) and SV% (.929). He also holds the program record for most saves in a game, 58 against Quinnipiac (10/31/2009), and most saves in a shutout when his team won the inaugural 3 Rivers Classic tournament, defeating #5 ranked Miami University 1-0. Eric made 51 saves and took home tournament MVP honors for stopping 99 of 99 saves in back to back shutout victories.

After a stellar 4 year career, Eric was called to play for the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) and served as their 3rd goalie as they went all the way to the Calder Cup Finals. Eric is entering his 9th professional season, seeing action with 9 different teams in 4 leagues including an SPHL Championship with Peoria last year! He has also suited up for: Toledo Walleye (ECHL), Allen Americans (CHL), Quad City Mallards (CHL), Syracuse Crunch (AHL), Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL), Indy Fuel (ECHL), Alaska Aces (ECHL), and Utah Grizzlies (ECHL).

“Bringing in someone from professional hockey for our guys to learn from has it’s obvious perks and will be a tremendous asset for our guys looking to make that jump after their time here at NIU, but not only are we excited to bring in someone with Eric’s ability in net, but someone with his character. A stand up guy I’ve known know for many years that has been a part of championships in Junior hockey, college hockey, AHL, and SPHL is the type of pedigree we need in our organization right now to move in the direction we want to go. It is an understatement to say we are excited for Eric to help our guys this year.” Head Coach Brad Stoffers

Eric graduated RMU with a Bachelors of Science degree in Applied Psychology with a Sports Psychology concentration. He graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.8, sitting top 10% of his class and graduated with honors. He received numerous awards from the School of Education and Social Sciences such as the John R. Bassett Memorial Scholarship, SESS Dean’s Excellence Award, and the Dean’s Leadership Award given to the most outstanding student in the department in 2013.

 


Keith Gorczyca

D2 Head Coach

This is Coach Gorczyca’s 22nd year coaching. He coached Varsity for 13 years at Batavia HS, won 2 ISHL league championships. Coached 21 years at the Cyclones, won 1 state championship, 2-second places in state playoffs, and 2 third-place finishes in state playoffs. In addition, has won numerous NIHL league flags. His prior coaching experience includes squirt, peewee, bantam, and midget as well as, AA (CSDHL) peewee, bantam, and midget. Coach Gorczyca played for UIC and ISU and graduated from ISU. Fun fact, two players he previously coached are in the NHL. Coach Gorczyca is a big believer in the development of the players he coaches. Outside the rink, he likes to golf and hangs out with his family of 3 grown boys and his girlfriend.