Coaches

Brad Willner - Head Coach / General Manager

Brad Willner is entering his 9th year with the Granite City Lumberjac2ks hockey program.  In his first eight seasons, the Lumberjacks have won four league championships, four division championships and Willner was named NA3HL General Manager of the Year in 2012.  Prior to joining the Lumberjacks, Willner was the Head Coach and General Manager of the Alexandria Blizzard of the North American Hockey League for four seasons (2005-09).  While there, he led the Blizzard to four straight playoff appearances and captured the Central Division Playoff Championship and earned a spot at the Robertson Cup Championship during the 2007-08 season.  During his tenure, Willner helped promote 38 players onto the college hockey scene. (10 Division I, 28 Division III).

Before heading up Alexandria, Willner spent five seasons with St. Cloud State University (2000-05), where he served as an assistant coach in charge of academics, NCAA team compliance, team travel, video breakdown, while helping in recruiting and on and off ice instruction.

During his time at SCSU, the Huskies won the 2001 WCHA Final Five and had 36 players earning WCHA All-Academic honors. Prior to SCSU, Willner served as an assistant coach with Providence College (1996-2000) helping them recruit two NCAA All-Americans and placing 26 players on the Hockey East Academic Honor Roll.

Willner has also coached in seven USA Hockey Select Festivals and assisted with the US Under 17 Team in Huttwil, Switzerland, which won the Gold at the Five Nations Tournament in August of 2005.

Before entering his coaching career, Willner, a fourth round draft choice by the New Jersey Devils in 1991 (77th pick), played professional hockey for the Albany River Rats (AHL) and Raleigh Ice Caps (ECHL) in 1995-96 before suffering a career ending injury. Willner played collegiate hockey for Lake Superior State University winning two NCAA Championships (1992, 1994) and three Central Collegiate Hockey League (CCHA) championships (1992, 1993 and 1995). He also earned Academic All-American Honors in 1995.

Willner played junior hockey for the St. Paul Vulcans, which won the Gold Cup in 1991.

Brad, his wife Alyssa and sons Jude and Jones, currently reside in Kimball, MN.

Mat Hall - Assistant Coach / Assistant GM

Mat Hall is the current Assistant General manager and player scout for the Lumberjacks.  Previously, Mat was an Assistant Coach for the Lumberjacks from 2009-2012.  During that time the Lumberjacks went on to win a MNJHL Bush Cup Championship and an NA3HL Silver Cup Championship.

Before Mat began coaching, he played five years of high school hockey at Saint Cloud Cathedral. As a senior, he was an Assistant Captain and helped the Crusaders earn a trip to the 2003-2004 Minnesota State High School hockey tournament.

After High School, Mat played 1 year of Midget AAA hockey for the Russell Stover Stars (Overland Park, Kansas). When he was finished in Kansas, he played Junior hockey for the Minnesota Ice Hawks (MNJHL) and the Oswego Admirals (OPJHL). Mat finished his hockey career at St. Mary’s University (MIAC).

Mat is the 5th generation of the Hall Family to work at Mathew Hall Lumber Company in Saint Cloud. He currently is in outside sales.
Mat resides in Sauk Rapids, MN with his wife, Abby and two children.

Ricky Helmbrecht - Assistant Coach

Ricky enters his 1st year coaching with the Lumberjacks, after playing at the junior, collegiate, and professional levels, spanning over a decade as a defenseman. 
 
The Mora, Minnesota native played his junior career in the NAHL, before playing a short time in College hockey out east, and than venturing over to Europe for 3 years to start his pro career, before venturing back to the states to play another 3 years in the minors, finishing up his career with the Fort Worth Brahmas in the Central Hockey League.
 
Ricky joins us after living in Australia the last 3 years since retiring from hockey, where he has an Australian wife Jacque and a 3 year old little boy named Easton.
 

Tim Fleck - Strength and Conditioning Coach

Tim’s always had an interest in fitness and rigorous physical activity. in 2008 he discovered CrossFit, the first WOD he did”…Smoked me for days afterward!” and dramatically changed the way he trained from then on.

Tim is the programming guru at CrossFit St. Cloud. He develops, tests and evaluates programming for general fitness as well as specialized strength & conditioning programming for individuals and groups. Recently he developed the Law Enforcement Officer Fitness program and conducts team training for the Granite City Lumberjacks hockey team.

He’s a 14-year veteran of the Marine Corps, a trained Russian linguist, drill instructor, naval aircrewman, military physical fitness instructor with 10 years of experience in strength & conditioning. He likes lifting heavy things, dogs, rugby, biking, firearms, rock climbing, adventure running,  SCUBA, orienteering, sleeping anywhere, at anytime, flying and jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.

Certifications:

CrossFit Level 1 certified instructor
CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting
CrossFit Movement & Mobility trainer course
NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer
CPR and AED