Our Instructors

Each year other coaches are brought in from all over the country to ensure the best experiece for our athletes.  Most of our instructors have played professional hockey and all come to the Black Hills with some sort of coaching or teaching background. We are pleased to introduce you to some of the BHHA coaches of past and present.

Riley Weselowski
Lead Instructor
Defenseman-Rapid City Rush

The BHHA is led by the CHL's 2012 Defenseman of the Year, Riley Weselowski. Riley is a current professional hockey player with the Rapid City Rush of the ECHL.  He has played for the Rush every season but one since 2009 and helped the team win the 2010 Ray Miron Presidents Cup. Riley's background includes playing Division 1 college hockey at Bemidji State University where he earned All-CHA honors his junior season. He has also played with the Idaho Steelheads and Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Riley has over 18 years experience as an instructor and has worked with athletes of all ages. Weselowski, his wife Kelly and son Collin call Rapid City home, and it is in the Black HIlls that the two of them along with their dogs Jax and Presley enjoy all that the South Dakota summers have to offer.

Danny Battochio
Goalie Coach
Goaltender-Rapid City Rush

Battochio recently retired after his 7th season as a professional goaltender with the Rapid City Rush. He is now a goalie coach for the Rush. Batsy was part of the CHL Ray Miron Championship winning team in 2010 and took home Rookie of the Year honours for the season. Danny spent the 2013/2014 season playing for Beibarys Atyrau hockey club of the Kazakhstan professional ice hockey league. His college career was played at St. Francis Xavier University in the Canadian CIS earning him a BA Advanced Major in Social Criminal Justice. Battochio has over 15 years of instructing in the development of goaltenders of all ages.

Jeremy Gates
Instructor 2015/16
Defenceman-Pensacola Ice Flyers

Jeremy Gates recently retired after his fourth season of professional hockey. Before “Coach Gator” (as he is known by the kids in camp) was 20 years old, his Canadian Junior team had already won two league championships. Following junior hockey he went to Neumann University where he won the NCAA Division III National Championship, and graduated with a degree in Sports Management. Since turning pro, Gates has seen time in the ECHL, CHL, and SPHL (where his Ice Flyers won back to back league Championships). Jeremy has provided camp instruction for various hockey schools in the past, and his outgoing and energetic personality make him a favorite instructor year after year. 

Michael Young
Instructor 2016
Defenseman- Rapid City Rush

Currently in his 3rd professional season, Michael Young has played the last two and a half seasons with the Rapid City Rush of the ECHL.  Before coming to the Rush, he played 3 seasons of Junior A hockey in Flin Flon Manitoba.  He followed that up by playing four years of NCAA Division 1 hockey for the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he studied Criminal Justice.

Connor Ward
Instructor 2013/14/15/16
Forward

A Rapid City native, and one of the BHHA's most veteran instructors, Coach Ward currently plays for Eastern Washington University of the BCIHL.  After finishing his final year of AAA hockey with the Rough Riders of the Tier 1 Elite League in Colorado, Ward went on to play junior hockey in British Columbia, Canada. Connor graduated from Rapid City Stevens High School in 2012.

Jamie Vanderveeken
Instructor 2013/14
Defenseman

Jamie VanderVeeken played 8 years of professional hockey, retiring as a member of the Brampton Beast. He was a part of the Rapid City Rush organization for 3 years, and helped the team win the Ray Miron Presidents cup along side head instructor Riley Weselowski. Jamie has experience teaching the game of hockey at all levels and previously ran a camp of his own back in his Canadian hometown.  

Travis Wight
Instructor 2013/14
Defenseman

Travis Wight played 7 years of professional hockey and retired as a member of the Wichita Thunder. Travis has an bachelor's degree in Kinesiology and Physcial Education and a Master's degree in Education: Curruculum and Instruction. He spent the first three seasons of his professional career with the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads He played in 70 games as a rookie for Idaho in 2006-07 helping the Steelheads to the Kelly Cup Championship.

Scott Brannon
Instructor 2015
Forward- Dundee Stars

Currently in 5th year professional hockey, Scott has played 199 games for the Rapid City Rush in 3 and a half seasons and currently suits up in the EIHL in Scotland for the Dundee Stars. Before turning pro, coach Brannon played two seasons at the St. Francis Xavier University and was an instructor at the Stfx hockey camp during that time.  Brannon also has a 2011 QMJHL title to his name, and participated in the Memorial Cup Canadian Junior Tournament in Brandon Manitoba. 

© 2016 Black Hills Hockey Academy