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Our Staff

WHA Coaches

The WHA staff is entirely made up of professional hockey players and coaches ONLY! The players at our camps will receive one-on-one coaching from staff members who have been there and know what it takes to succeed at the highest levels including representation from the top professional leagues in Europe, East Coast Hockey League, American Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Division 1 College Hockey! Staff bios and pictures are located below. 

Ben Warda - Owner & Head Instructor

Ben Warda has just finished his first season full time coaching as Head Coach for the U16AAA Nashville Jr. Predators in the NAPHL while also serving as the program's Director of Hockey Operations. Coach Warda compiled a 21-29 record in his first year having taken over a team that won only 4 games the year before. His 16U team swept the TPH Thunder in a best of 3 series in district playoffs and earning a spot in the SAHA Regional Tournament in Tampa where they lost to Team Maryland in the championship game thus, being 1 win away from the Tier 1 AAA National Championship tournament in Grand Rapids for the 2018-2019 season. Prior to his coaching career Ben was a scout for the Ottawa 67s in the Ontario Hockey League focusing on Detroit area prospects after retiring from professional hockey in 2017. Ben spent the previous 4 years playing professionally overseas in Germany for EC Peiting in the German Oberliga. Prior to turning pro, Ben played two years of Jr. A hockey for the St. Louis Bandits in the North American Hockey League under current Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper (NHL), winning back-to-back national championships while leading the team in scoring his second season. Ben received a scholarship to Michigan State University (BIG10)  where he played his freshman season before transferring to Western Michigan University (NCHC) where he completed his college career from 2010-2013 under coaches Jeff Blashill (Detroit Red Wings NHL) and Andy Murray (LA Kings & St. Louis Blues NHL), winning a CCHA championship in 2011. 

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J.J. Crew - Skill Development Coach

J.J. is currently entering his third season as Director of Player Development for the Western Michigan University Bronco's Division 1 hockey team. J.J.'s primary role with WMU consists of skill development training with the players in a smaller group setting along with assisting on regular team practices. Prior to joining WMU, J.J. spent 1 season as an assistant coach for Ohio University and 2 years as an assistant coach at the Junior level for the Hampton Roads Warriors in the USPHL. Before becoming a coach, he also played at a very high level spending 2 seasons in the USHL for the Lincoln Stars where he earned a scholarship to play college hockey at Western Michigan University. "Crew brings division 1 college experience to the WHA staff. Our players at camp will go through the same skill development drills as some of the top college prospects in the country including many AHL & NHL players. We're very lucky to add him to our all pro staff at WHA!" - Ben Warda

Trevor Elias - Skill Development Coach

Trevor is currently in his 4th season as Assistant Coach for Mt. Royal University based in his hometown of Calgary, Alberta. Trevor also works directly with Hockey Canada as a Skill Development Coordinator. Prior to beginning his coaching career, Trevor was a standout scorer for the Langley Chiefs in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) having amassed 155 points throughout his Junior A career. After juniors, Trevor was awarded a scholarship to Western Michigan University where he appeared in 155 games for the Broncos totaling 51 points while winning a CCHA Championship in the 2011-2012 season. "Elias brings College level coaching experience and a unique skill set to the WHA Staff. Having worked with players from all ages and talent levels across Canada, coach Elias provides our players the rare opportunity to learn high-end skill development tactics from Hockey Canada that will aid in their advancement immensely!" - Ben Warda

Derek Roehl - Skill Development Coach

Derek is entering his first season of full time coaching having recently been named Head Coach for the U15 Little Caesars AAA team. Derek will be taking over a team that won the AAA Tier 1 National Championship during the 2018-2019 season. Prior to becoming a coach, Derek spent 7 years playing professionally overseas in Europe with experience in pro leagues from all over the world including France, Italy, Germany, England, and Scotland. During his most recent season, Derek was named captain for Chambery in the French pro league. Prior to turning pro, Derek played his college hockey for Western Michigan University winning a CCHA Championship during his senior year. "Roehl brings elite level AAA hockey coaching experience to our WHA staff combined with a high level professional career. Roehl's international playing experience is second to none and will provide our players with skill development training tactics from all over the world." - Ben Warda

Josh Pitt - Skill Development Coach

Josh has just completed his third year of professional hockey playing for the Sheffield Steelers in the English Elite Hockey League. Josh finished second on the team in scoring compiling 46 points in 60 games. Before heading to England, Josh spent 2 seasons playing for the Kalamazoo Wings in the ECHL amassing 92 points in 113 games over the 2 years while also earning a call up in the AHL for the Syracuse Crunch, the head farm team for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Prior to turning pro, Josh played his college hockey at Western Michigan University winning a CCHA Championship during his freshman season. "Pitt brings a high level skill set to the WHA staff as he is an elite level skater and pro hockey player. Pitt will work mainly with our forwards teaching overall skating technique and goal scoring touch and shot form." - Ben Warda

Lukas Hafner - Head Goalie Coach

Lukas has just finished his third year of professional hockey splitting time between the Ft. Wayne Komets and the Allen Americans in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) appearing in 34 games as starting goaltender. Prior to this season, Lukas was the starting goalie for the Colorado Eagles (also in the ECHL) winning the Kelly Cup Championship while also earning an AHL camp invited for the San Antonia Rampage, head farm team for the Colorado Avalanche. Prior to turning pro Lukas played his college hockey for Western Michigan University (NCHC). During his career at WMU, Lukas has appeared in 86 games holding a career save percentage of .909% with 8 shutouts while winning a CCHA Championship during his freshman season. "Hafner is a tremendous asset to the WHA Staff as he will be working one-on-one with our goaltenders at camp. His training methods will show them what it takes to become an elite goalie and succeed at the highest levels." ‚Äč- Ben Warda