A week after announcing the addition of Alex Shnayderman as the new co-owner with Roy Davoult, the Wildcats added to their hockey staff today, officially hiring Nick Harper as assistant coach and Tyler Sleeper as equipment manager and trainer. Both have excellent backgrounds in their respective fields and will be great additions to the Wildcats' organization.
"Nick is really impressive," said head coach Paul Baxter. "He has a great passion for the game, and has coached for a few years. I got to know him well this past week in Colorado. He has a good understanding of the game and believes in the same things as Brian [Huebel, associate head coach] and myself."
Harper, a defenseman, played at Amherst College, recent home to former Wildcat Eddie Effinger. Before coming to the Wildcats, he coached with the Springfield Junior Blues last season as an assistant coach, and was head coach and the University of Northern Colorado.
"I am extremely excited and looking forward to the opportunity to coach in an organization that takes pride in developing their young players into well rounded athletes and young men," Harper said.
Tyler Sleeper will be the first full-time equipment manager and trainer for the Wildcats since the start of the 2007-08 season. Before coming to the Wildcats, he handled those duties with the USHL's Dubuque Fighting Saints for the past two seasons.
"Tyler has a great understanding of the game of hockey and all the aspects of equipment for hockey," Baxter commented. "He's also certified as an athletic trainer, and worked with a recent championship team in Dubuque."
Sleeper, a native of Topeka, KS, played youth hockey for the Topeka Junior Scarecrows.
"I'm very pleased to be working with this organization," Tyler said about coming to Wichita Falls. "I'm looking forward to the upcoming season, and I'm just happy to be part of something special."
The Wildcats will also be working with goaltending coach Billy Pye. Pye, who lives in Fort Worth, played in the NAHL in the 1980's and spent four years at Northern Michigan University before embarking on a nine-year professional career in the minor hockey and pro roller hockey levels. In his coaching career, he has been known as "Billy Pye, The Goalie Guy," with a website at http://www.billypyethegoalieguy.com