Returning for his 2nd season as the head coach of the Monarchs’ 2004 birth year team is Scott Nichol as he will guide the Pee Wee Major AAA team through their first tournament-bound season in 2016-2017. As he did in 2015-16, Coach Nichol will also coach the 2003 team of the Monarchs. This year he will team with Monarchs' Director of Hockey Francois Methot as co-head coaches for the Bantam Minor Gold team.
The native of Edmonton, Alberta, Coach Nichol was a 1993 NHL draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres and played 19 professional seasons which included 662 games in the NHL. Included in his stops in the NHL was tours with Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, Nashville, San Jose and St. Louis, registering 127 points (56g-71a) and 916 penalty minutes in 662 NHL games. He helped the San Jose Sharks advance to back-to-back Western Conference Finals in 2010 and 2011.
He spent his first six professional seasons in the Sabres organization where he played 325 regular season games with the Rochester Americans in the AHL, where his professional career began at age 20. Coach Nichol was a key member of the Amerks’ 1996 Calder Cup championship team and had 211 points (90g-121a) and 1,029 penalty minutes in 398 games in the AHL.
Coach Nichol’s player development resume is unrivaled in youth hockey as he holds the position of Director of Player Development for the NHL’s Nashville Predators. In his role with the Predators, Coach Nichol is responsible for following and evaluating prospects drafted by Nashville, in addition to working with players on all levels throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. He assists them with their maturation process into NHL players by focusing on nutrition, off-ice workouts and conditioning, practice habits and game performance. Coach Nichol hopes to do the same for players in the Monarch organization as they navigate their athletic careers and help players reach their full potential in sport as well as life.
“I'm very excited to be a part of the Monarchs organization,” said Coach Nichol. “Our 04 team has made huge strides in believing in themselves, in their teammates, learning to play as a team, putting personal accolades aside and competing whenever they are on the ice. The amount of practice, skill development along with video and dry land training builds a competitive environment. These are all great qualities these young men will need as they keep growing and maturing.”
Coach Nichol and his wife Christie reside in Victor, NY with sons Hayden and Foster and daughter Sophia.
Leading the Bantam Major AAA team for their 14U Tier I Tournament-bound season will be Rory Fitzpatrick. As a Rochester native Coach Fitzpatrick came up through the local hockey ranks playing with the Rochester Jr. Monarchs before moving on to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) to play for the Sudbury Wolves. He was an OHL 1st round draft pick, 10th overall by the Wolves. Fitzpatrick was later drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2nd round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. He scored his first NHL goal in the 1996 playoffs versus the New York Rangers. His career spanned 15 professional seasons where he appeared in 287 NHL regular season games and another 20 post-season contests with the Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers. He also appeared in 474 games in the American Hockey League, including 211 with his hometown Rochester Americans.
Since retiring as a player following the 2009-2010 season Coach Fitzpatrick has remained very active in the Rochester hockey community. He is the owner of Rochester Hockey Academy and has trained and mentored the area’s best up and coming hockey talent over the last several years. He is active in beginner hockey programs and has coached in the Monarch program the last five years with the 2002 and 2001 birth year teams.
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Francois Methot was a 3rd round NHL draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 1996 and played the first five seasons of his professional career with the Amerks. Upon retiring following the 2014-2015 season after a 17-year professional playing career he returned to Rochester full time and has joined the Monarch organization as the Director of Hockey and will also be the co-head coach with Scott Nichol for the Bantam Minor Gold team in 2016-17.
Methot was a 3rd round pick in the 1996 entry draft out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and made his professional debut with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League (AHL) during the 1995-1996 season. Methot played 334 regular season games with the Americans and another 39 Calder Cup playoff contests. After a season with the Portland Pirates in the AHL, Methot moved on to a very successful career in Europe until he retired from playing professionally.
Methot will also serve as the Monarchs' skills coach and work with each team in the organization once a week on the ice.
The Rochester Monarchs AAA Hockey Club is also pleased to announce that Chris Palmer will return in 2016-2017 as head coach of the Pee Wee Minor AAA team. Coach Palmer, a native of Midland, Ont., played collegiately at Rochester Institute of Technology where he finished his three-year career with the Tigers as one of the leading scorers in RIT men’s hockey history, earning All-American accolades and was also a 2005 inductee into the RIT Athletic Hall of Fame. Following his college career Coach Palmer signed a professional contract with the New Jersey Devils and spent 12 years playing professional hockey in the AHL, ECHL, UHL and leagues overseas in Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, as well as time with the Canadian National Team. He spent time during the 1999-2000 season with the Rochester Americans where his teammates included fellow Monarch coaches Francois Methot and Scott Nichol.
In addition to his recent coaching experience within the Monarchs program, Coach Palmer has also spent time as an assistant coach with RIT and in the Rochester Alliance program previously as well.
Coach Norton, who served as the Squirt Minor AAA coach with this ’06 birth year group during the 2015-2016 season, is a Level 3 certified USA Hockey coach and returns for his 2nd season in the Monarch organization. He will co-coach the Squirt Major AAA team with Jake Wiemer for the 2016-2017 travel hockey season. He was also previously a coach with Perinton Youth Hockey in the mite program. The native of Rochester, NY was a local hockey product, playing four seasons of varsity hockey at McQuaid Jesuit High School before graduating from St. John Fisher College.
Jake Wiemer is also a local hockey product as he grew up playing for the Rochester Youth Hockey program and Greece Thunder before moving on to Junior A in the OPJHL with the Cobourg Cougars. Following his junior career Wiemer played at Monroe Community College where he was a MCC Sports Hall of Fame Inductee in 2011. The son of former Rochester American and NHL defenseman Jim Wiemer, Coach Wiemer has also served as an on-ice instructor with Sport International Hockey Academy as well as an assistant coach at MCC and with the Rochester Alliance program previously. He also served as head coach in the 2013-2014 season at Rochester Youth Hockey for the Bantam Minor AAA team before joining the Rochester Monarchs program to coach co-coach the 2016-2017 Squirt Major AAA team.
Michael Derks (Squirt Minor)
Michael Derks has been named the head coach for the 2016-2017 season of the Squirt Minor AAA team. Coach Derks has spent the last five seasons coaching in the Perinton Youth ADM Mite program, the last two at the top Mite Major level. Another Rochester native who grew up playing four years of high school hockey at Greece before a junior hockey career that took him to Vancouver to play with Port Coquitlam and then back home to play with the Rochester Jr. Monarchs. Collegiately Coach Derks played at SUNY Brockport where he earned SUNYAC Rookie of the Year honors his freshman season and lead the League in scoring while earning all-SUNYAC honors.
Jamie Bird (16U AAA)
Jamie Bird is a native of Rochester, NY and played for the original Rochester Jr. Monarchs under the late Barry Smith. Following his local career he had the chance to play under a number of influential coaches in four years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. With the Hull Olympiques, Bird played for head coach Bob Mongrain, who was a member of the Rochester Americans and Buffalo Sabres from 1979 to 1985. One of Mongrain’s assistants during those years was Claude Julien, current head coach of the Boston Bruins, and the NHL’s Coach of the Year in 2009. Bird, a defenseman, was a captain with the Olympiques who won the league championship in 1995 and participated in the Memorial Cup in Kamloops, B.C.
Following his junior career Bird had a five-year professional career which included stints in the AHL, ECHL (where he played for current New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano), United Hockey League and Central Hockey League.
In 2000, Jamie decided to step away from the game as a player to pursue a college degree. After years of simultaneously working, coaching, and starting a family, he received his Master’s degree in English in 2013.
After pursuing a full-time coaching opportunity with the Elite Hockey Program at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut for the 2015-2016 season, Jamie now returns home where he coached for more than ten years at the Midget AAA level in Western New York. He has had a positive influence in the development of many current and former NCAA Division I and Division III players, with more to come in the next two-three years. While coach of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 18U in 2014-2015, he guided his team to a New York State championship, a quarter-final appearance in the USA Hockey Nationals, a 25-game winning streak, and a national Tier I best 60 wins. He was assisted on that team by former Buffalo Sabre Ric Seiling and Rochester American Geoff Peters. Coach Bird is excited to return to Western New York and be part of the Monarchs organization coaching the 16U AAA team for the 2016-17 season.
Coach Bird is married, and has two sons ages 5 and 14.
A sampling of colleges and universities where players coached by Jamie Bird at the Midget level have either continued their as student-athletes or have made a commitment to do so include: Michigan State, Cornell, St. Lawrence, RIT, Niagara, Canisius, RPI, Dartmouth, Williams College, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Oswego, Nazareth, SUNY Plattsburgh and more.