skip navigation

Center of Excellence Detroit

Center of Excellence: Study, Train, Play!

The Center of Excellence is a focused environment where dedicated student-athletes learn to study, train and play to their fullest potential.  

With five locations across four states, our environment combines proven, accredited online learning with hands-on, innovative on and off-ice hockey training and instruction in an attempt to positively impact each individual and advance him or her to the highest levels in hockey, and  more importantly, in life.  


 Continue scrolling to:

  • Apply to the Center of Excellence.  
  • Learn about the various components of the Center of Excellence, including academics, on and off-ice training, leadership and personal development.  
  • Meet the hockey, academic and operations staff for the COE.

Applying to the Center of Excellence 

Click here to apply to the Center of Excellence, which is step one in the formal registration process.  Once your application is accepted, you will receive an e-mail with further instructions.  


Study to Your Potential

... Academics at the COE ...


Edmentum proudly partners with over 8,000 school districts across the United States.  

The Edmentum Online Learning Platform

Edmentum provides easy-to-use technology that drives learning forward, while giving you more time to do what you do best. We are committed to delivering actionable, intuitive, and high-quality tools that engage the individual students in their learning and empower educators with meaningful insights to drive instruction.

Edmentum’s Individualized Learning Solution, 
Exact Path is focused on understanding where your students are academically, identifying strengths and weaknesses for each student, and then taking that data a step further. Exact Path utilizes adaptive assessments and targeted learning paths aligned to your goals, paced to your students’ needs, and structured to give students control over their own educational journey.

To learn more:

  • Visit 
  • Click here to download a PDF brochure.  
  • Contact Total Package Hockey Chief Academic Officer Bill Simms at


Train to Your Potential

... Off-Ice Training and Athlete Development ...

Total Package Hockey believes that a polished, well-rounded athlete makes a better hockey player.  We subscribe to the belief that a successful hockey player must have the strength of a football player, and the fast-twitch quickness of a track runner. 


While dedicating a minimum of forty-five minutes, four days per week in the weight room, the COE off-ice training curriculum is designed to improve each athlete's strength, speed, agility, balance, coordination  and overall athleticism.  


... Leadership and Personal Growth ...


Successful hockey players must embrace what it means to do things the right way.  An elite athlete understands how to sleep right, eat right, train right, practice right, play right and most importantly, live right.


The Center of Excellence leadership program has been created to educate each individual on what it means to do things the right way.  Utilizing nine pillars and core principles, Francis Anzalone, Vice-President, The TPH Way, leads our student-athletes through a 30 week journey in an effort to provide each individual with the tools he/she needs to be successful as a hockey player, athlete and person.  


Play to Your Potential
... On-Ice Training and Instruction at the COE ...

The Center of Excellence on-ice curriculum is organized in a four phase progression that provides repetitions in skating, shooting, stick skills and situational blends.  Athletes spend a minimum of four hours per week on-ice.     

Phase one is strictly foundational and emphasizes proper technique and mechanics for skating stride and edges, as well as stationary shooting, passing skills, eye/hand coordination and puck handling. 


As phases progress, so too does the amount of pressure and level of multi-tasking.  Emphasis is placed on overall skills as well as position-specific skills for forwards and defensemen.  


Goaltenders face adequate shots during each phase and also develop under the tutelage of a goalie coach who utilizes the recently defined TPH/COE goaltending curriculum.  


Center of Excellence Location

The Detroit Center of Excellence is housed in two locations:


Arctic Edge Ice Arena

46615 Michigan Avenue

Canton, MI  48188


Viking Arena

1555 East Woodward Heights Boulevard

Hazel Park, MI  48030


Center of Excellence Staff


Brandon Naurato
Managing Partner

Director of Player Development, TPH

Director of Hockey, TPH Center of Excellence, Detroit
(734) 564-8395, cell


  • Michigan native who attended and played at Detroit Catholic Central.  
  • Spent two seasons in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.  
  • Attended the University of Michigan where he played Division I hockey. 
  • Played 3 seasons of professional hockey in the ECHL, IHL and CHL.  
  • Founded the Detroit branch of TPH in 2012 which has spearheaded the creation of various TPH programs including Michigan Hockey Advancement, the summer 8 Week Training Program and the Center of Excellence model itself.  
  • Has assisted in the development of various junior, collegiate and professional players.
  • Heads up the video analysis arm of TPH where he works with various NHL players such as JT Compher of the Colorado Avalanche, Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Max Pacorietty of the Montreal Canadiens.   
  • Resides in Canton, MI with his wife and child.  

Rick Gadwa
Director of Operations

TPH Center of Excellence, Detroit

(810) 923-5393, cell


  • Graduated from Hartland High School, where he currently coaches the Varsity boys hockey team.  
  • Graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Management from Davenport University in Grand Rapids, MI.  
  • Played semi-professional hockey for the Battle Creek Revolution in the AAHL.  
  • Resides in Brighton, MI with his wife Katie and three children.  

Jimmy McGroarty
Player Development Coach & Mentor

TPH Center of Excellence, Detroit

(402) 802-1216, cell


  • Native of Toronto, Ontario.  
  • Extensive playing career at the junior and professional level in the United States, Canada and Austria.  
  • Spent 13 years coaching in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers and Lincoln Stars as an assistant, associate and head coach.  
  • Amassed over 450 wins as a USHL coach.    
  • Coached over 200 future Division I players and had over 50 players selected in the NHL draft, or sign NHL contracts as free agents.  Ryan Dzingel, Paul Stastny, Brandon Bollig, Martin Hanzel and Matt Bartkowski were among them.
  • Currently coaches with the Honeybaked program and is a scout for the Hamilton Bulldogs in the OHL.  
  • He and his wife Cindy are the proud parents of daughter Molly and son Rutger.  

Damian Surma
Player Development Coach & Mentor

TPH Center of Excellence, Detroit

(978) 337-5555, cell


  • Michigan native who graduated from St. Frances Cabrini in Allen Park, MI.
  • Played 4 seasons in the OHL for the Plymouth Whalers.  
  • Played 13 years of professional hockey, which included a stint with the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes.  
  • Played 3 seasons overseas in Italy.  
  • Coached two years of 'AAA' hockey with the Compuware and Victory Honda organizations.  
  • Comes from a big, close-knit family, with upwards of 100 family members.  

Matt Larke
Player Development Coach & Mentor 

TPH Center of Excellence, Detroit

(248) 727-3617, cell


  • Michigan native who played his minor hockey in the Honeybaked program.  
  • Played junior hockey in both the NAHL and USHL from 2005-2008.  
  • Played 8 seasons of professional hockey in the ECHL, CHL and EIHL in Europe.  
  • Coaches in the TPH Michigan Hockey Advancement program, as well as the OHL Cup, and also assists the Honeybaked 2004's.
  • Specializes in skating stride, edge work and mechanics.  

Karel Popper
Director of Goaltending

TPH Center of Excellence, Detroit

(513) 476-0082, cell


  • Studied Finance at Hamline University where he also played Division III hockey.  
  • Played junior hockey in Flint, MI and Rochester, MN.  
  • Over eight years of goalie coaching experience.  
  • Assistant Coach and Goalie Coach for The Ohio State University women's program for the 2016-2017 season.  
  • Goalie coach for the USA Hockey Women's Development Program.  

Kevin Hess
Director of Education

TPH Center of Excellence, Detroit

(248) 521-7048, cell


  • Graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University.  
  • Taught both science and computer science at Orchard Lake St. Mary's Preparatory School for 15 years.  Also spent 8 years as the head of the science department.  
  • Grew up in Cleveland, OH where he played youth hockey.  
  • 15+ years of 'AAA' coaching experience.  
  • 14 years as the Midwest United States scout for the OHL Central Scouting Bureau.  
  • 5 years as the Michigan scout for NHL Central Scouting.  
  • Resides in Clawson, MI with his wife Klara, daughter Olivia and dog Bella.  

Sandra Laird
Success Coach

TPH Center of Excellence, Detroit

(810) 333-2216, cell


  • Graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from the University of Michigan and obtained a teaching certificate.  
  • Earned a Masters of General Science from Eastern Michigan University.
  • 17 years of teaching experience.  
  • Was a figure skating and hockey skating instructor for over 14 years.  

Applying to the Center of Excellence 

Click here to apply to the Center of Excellence, which is step one in the formal registration process.  Once your application is accepted, you will receive an e-mail with further instructions.