Joel Kwiatkowski Named Director of Hockey for Grand Rapids CoE
Total Package Hockey is proud to announce that Joel Kwiatkowski has joined the staff of the new Center of Excellence in Grand Rapids, Mich., as the program’s first Director of Hockey.
Kwiatkowski brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the new staff for the GR CoE as an 18-year professional hockey player, a coach and a hockey parent.
“What drew me to TPH was thinking about how great this would have been for me when I was growing up,” Kwiatkowski said. “To have a situation where you can work on your education and your hockey skills each and every day, with people right there alongside you to help you both on and off the ice, it’s a tremendous opportunity for kids in West Michigan. We have such a great community here, and I’m incredibly excited to start this new chapter at Southside Ice Arena as a coach and a mentor for our future CoE student-athletes.”
Kwiatkowski, a native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was a draft pick of the Dallas Stars in 1996. He appeared in 282 National Hockey League games over the course of seven seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Atlanta Thrashers. Kwiatkowski competed in the Western Hockey League, the American Hockey League, the International Hockey League and the highest professional leagues in Switzerland and Sweden. He played in more than 1,000 professional hockey games over the course of his career.
Two of those seasons took place in Grand Rapids, as he played for the Griffins during their last season with the IHL in 2000-01 and their first season with the AHL in 2001-02.
During that time, he built ties to West Michigan, and a relationship with Southside Ice Arena co-owner and TPH GR partner Travis Richards.
“Joel was a tremendous teammate during our time together in Grand Rapids,” said Richards, still the only player to have his number retired by the Griffins. “He has a great knowledge of the game and a passion for teaching and helping players. We couldn’t be more excited to have him joining us as we begin the Center of Excellence for the next school year.
“We are very excited to officially add him to our TPH GR team- he will be a great leader and role model for our kids.”
Following his retirement from professional hockey, Kwiatkowski and his family returned to West Michigan. He accepted an assistant coach position with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL while also joining the Fox Motors Hockey Club as an assistant coach.
“I’ve gotten to know Joel over the last few seasons through our Fox Motors Hockey Club, and I’ve been impressed by how he conducts himself at the rink as a coach and a parent,” said Mike Slobodnik,” Southside Ice Arena co-owner and TPH GR partner alongside Richards. “The TPH CoE model is here to help young student-athletes develop into good people, not just hockey players. With Joel, we know that these students will not only be improving crucial hockey skills on a day-in, day-out basis, but that they will be learning how to be leaders and students and good teammates and friends at the same time.”
TPH Grand Rapids invites all interested families to meet Joel Kwiatkowski and other members of the team at our upcoming open house on Tuesday, March 19 at 7 PM at Southside Ice Arena. To RSVP and secure your spot for the open house, please click here.
If you’re ready to apply to the Grand Rapids CoE, we invite you to click here and start the registration process.
About Total Package Hockey: Founded in 2001, it is TPH’s vision to become the world leader in positively impacting the lives of student-athletes through the game of hockey. Through academics, mentorship and athletics, TPH prides itself on operating at a standard that exceeds expectations of student-athletes, families, coaches, advisors and all other entities of the hockey world. With platforms that include association management, elite prospects programs, tournaments and showcases, camps and clinics and its hallmark Center of Excellence academy model, Total Package Hockey has assisted in the academic, athletic and hockey development of over 600 players who have advanced to junior, collegiate and professional hockey. Since inception, 45 #TPHTrained student-athletes have been selected in the NHL Draft, while 280 have committed to the NCAA level – 189 of which are Division I. In addition, 99 players have been selected in the OHL Priority Selection and 353 have signed tenders or been drafted in the USHL and NAHL. While TPH is proud of its student-athletes who have achieved success on-the ice, it is the process of developing young men and women as people, first and foremost, that our world-class team of coaches and mentors take the most amount of pride in. While it is our responsibility to prepare each individual for success on the ice, it is our mission to prepare each and every individual for success in the ultimate game – the game of life! To learn more about TPH, visit www.totalpackagehockey.com.