The Atlantic Hockey Federation is excited to announce the addition of the Cherry Creek Bruins to the AHF in the 2023-24 season. Cherry Creek Hockey is based out of Centennial, Colorado and play at the Family Sports Center. Cherry Creek Association encompasses Tier II USA Hockey and Cherry Creek High School hockey. Cherry Creek Association represents one of the largest school districts in Colorado consisting of players from six different high schools. They were a USA Hockey National Champion in 2015 and have a strong development coaching model for helping Cherry Creek players move to the next level.
The Cherry Creek Bruins competed in the AHF at various age levels in 2022 as guest teams in the October AA showcases. Next season, Bruin’s 16/18AA teams will be showcase members in the AHF.
The Bruins key coaches include Jeff Mielnicki, Toby Petersen, Rob Flay, Matt McGregor, Matt Zaba, Ryan Bammertand Ralph Bammert. Jeff Mielnicki is the executive director of operations as well as the head coach for varsity prep Major AA and CHSAA Varsity teams. He has quite the resume when it comes to coaching. Meilnicki was the Head Coach at Arapahoe Hockey Association for 14 years, Cherry Creek Baseball Diamond Club President, CHSAA Director of Hockey Program, President/Director of Operations Cherry Creek Hockey Association, Boston Junior Rangers Midwest Head Scout from 2019 to 2023 and is in his 10th Season as CHSAA Varsity Head Coach.
Toby Petersen is the head coach for CC Prospects, special teams coordinator for the CCHS Varsity team and the head coach for High Plains T2. Petersen’s NHL playing career included 398 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars. He played Division 1 Hockey at Colorado College and was a 4 Year Letterman amassing 128 Points. He also coached 6 seasons in the AHL with Springfield, Cleveland and Rochester.
Rob Flay is the Varsity Prep Major AA assistant coach and CHSAA varsity team. He returned for his 4th season as V-Prep Major AA / CHSAA Varsity Assistant Coach. His coaching experience includes coaching at the Midget Major AA, AAA, Junior A Tier and College Club levels. His teams have won League and State Titles and competed at the Regional level. Former players of Coach Flay have gone on to play at the Junior, NCAA Div I, Div III and Professional levels.
Matt McGregor is the head coach for Varsity Prep NAPHL T1 Makar U16 and CHSAA JV Team and is also Cherry Creek’s High Plains Director of Operations. From 2017-2020, McGregor held the position as Assistant Director of a local youth hockey program until making the decision to use the skills he learned to run the Columbine HS hockey program.
Matt Zaba is the goaltending coach for the Cherry Creek Hockey Association. After an eight year professional career, including stops in the NHL, AHL, ECHL and Europe, Zaba began his coaching career with his alma mater Colorado College Tigers. He has worked directly under the guidance of New York Rangers goalie coach Benoit Allaire, Los Angeles Kings goalie coach Bill Ranford and Swedish National Team goalie coach Stefan Ladhe.
Ryan Bammert begins his 10th season as a Varsity Prep Major AA and CHSAA assistant coach and 11th overall where he began with Coach Mielnecki at Arapahoe and brings a competitive spirit to every game. Bammert was part of the State and National Championship Coaching Staff.
Ralph Bammert is a Cherry Creek Hockey Association Vice President, Assistant Coach for the Varsity Prep Major AA, as well as the Association Registrar. Ralph has been a Director for USA Hockey for many years and is also the High Plains League President and serves as the Vice President of High School Hockey for CAHA and the Colorado Prep Hockey League.
Ralph is also USA Hockey National Risk Manager and is a member of the USA Hockey Disabled Section.
There are some coaches within the Cherry Creek Club who work for Junior teams which helps strengthen their hockey development path. Jeff Mielnicki is with the Boston Jr. Rangers in the EHL, Matt Zaba is with the Tri City Storm as goal coach in the USHL, and Toby Petersen with several professional relationships.
Cherry Creek Alumni have played NCAA Division 1, Division 3, ACHA Division 1, ACHA Division, junior leagues such as the USHL, NAHL, BCHL, AJHL, SJHL, EHL, NOJHL, USPHL, NA3HL and WSHL. Jackson Ross (Colorado College) and David Fessensen (University of New Hampshire) are currently playing or have just completed NCAA Division I hockey. Other alumni who have used Cherry Creek as a step in their player advancement include Blake Benson (Endicott College), Addy Powell (Springfield Jr. Blues), Payne Pent (El Paso), and Nick Fall (CT Rangers).
The Atlantic Hockey Federation (AHF) is a USA Hockey Sanctioned Elite Tier-II Youth Hockey League that facilitates games throughout the U.S. for its club members and families. The AHF provides high-quality league games and showcases for over 600 teams in the Mid-Atlantic uniquely catering to its member-owned clubs. The AHF currently fields youth hockey programs at AA, A, and B divisions for the following age groups: the 8U AAA Full Ice, 8U Half Ice, 9U, 10U, 11U, 12U, 14U, 15U/16U, and 18U age levels. The AHF is truly a unique opportunity as each of the Founders and Member clubs operate at all levels of the youth and junior hockey spectrum from Mite to Midget at the youth level and from Tier III juniors all the way up to Tier I juniors in the USHL. If you are looking for value and exposure to play college hockey, the AHF is also for you.