Kevin McDonald - Assistant General Manager, Avalanche & General Manager, Colorado Eagles
Kevin McDonald enters his first season as the General Manager of the Eagles, while also serving in his first year as Assistant General Manager for the NHL's Colorado Avalanche.
McDonald was the recipient of the 2022 Thomas Ebright Memorial Award, which is annually presented for outstanding career contributions to the American Hockey League. He served as the General Manager of the Blues' American Hockey League affiliate beginning in 2018 and in that role, was also a pro scout for St. Lous. With his guidance and input in the team personnel decisions, McDonald played an important role in the Blues capturing the 2019 Stanley Cup Championship.
The Lawrence, Massachusetts, native joined the Blues organization prior to the 2001-02 season as a professional scout and was promoted to Director of Professional Scouting within two seasons, taking on the role in 2003. McDonald took on the role of General Manager of the Blues' former AHL affiliate, peoria Rivermen, in June 2005 before being named an Assistant General Manager for St. Louis in May 2009.
McDonald began his career in professional hockey in 1988 as a member of the New York Rangers' communications department. Following the Rangers' Stanley Cup Championship run i 1993-94, he moved into the Rangers' hockey operations and worked as an assistant to Rangers General Manager Neil Smith during the lockout shortened 1994-95 season.
McDonald resides in North Andover, Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife Lauren, his two children Sean and Kayleigh, and his three step-children Joseph, Jenna and Daniel.
Greg Cronin - Head Coach
Cronin has spent 30 seasons in coaching, including 12 years as an assistant in the NHL and two seasons as a head coach at the AHL level. He spent the last four years on the New York Islanders' coaching staff, serving three seasons as an assistant before being promoted to Associate Coach in 2017-18. It marked his second stint with the Islanders, as he previously was an assistant coach with the team from 1998 to 2003. Prior to his recent time in New York, Cronin was an assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs for three seasons from 2011-14, helping the Leafs to their first playoff appearance in nine years in 2013.
Cronin served two seasons as head coach of the Islanders' AHL team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, from 2003-05. The Arlington, Mass., native led the Sound Tigers to the playoffs during his first season in 2003-04 with a record of 41-23-16 (98 points).
Following his time with Bridgeport, Cronin spent six seasons as the head coach at Northeastern University from 2005-06 to 2010-11. He helped rebuild the Huskies program, improving from three wins in his first season to an NCAA tournament appearance in 2009, the school's first in 15 years. That season, he won the Hockey East's Bob Kullen Coach of the Year Award.
Cronin was an assistant coach at the University of Maine (1988-90, 1993-95) and Colorado College (1990-93), and also spent time as interim head coach at both institutions as well (Colorado College in 1992 and Maine in 1995-96). Following a four-year playing career at Colby College (1982-86), Cronin began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1987-88.
One of the co-founders of the United States National Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., Cronin served as the head coach and director of player development for the U.S. Under-18 Team for two years from 1996-98. Internationally, Cronin worked as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 1997, 2011 and 2012 IIHF World Championship, as well as the 1997 and 1998 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he helped the U.S. Junior National Team to a silver medal in 1997.
Cronin earned a Master's Degree in Business at the University of Maine in 1990, while serving as a graduate assistant for the hockey team.
Aaron Schneekloth - Assistant Coach
Schneekloth joins Greg Cronin’s staff as an assistant coach after leading the Eagles to back-to-back Kelly Cup Championships in his two seasons as the team’s bench boss in the ECHL. Schneekloth finished 2nd in the ECHL's Coach of the Year voting during his each of his first two seasons, after leading Colorado to a 47-20-2-3 record during the 2016-17 and a 48-18-4-2 mark during the 2017-18 campaign. He would also guide Colorado to a stellar record of 32-10-2 in the postseason.
Schneekloth previously spent three seasons as the Eagles assistant coach under Chris Stewart. Prior to moving behind the bench, Schneekloth enjoyed a highly decorated professional career that spanned 11 years and saw him spend seven seasons in an Eagles sweater, including a championship season in 2007. Schneekloth retired in 2013 as the Eagles' all-time leader in points, goals, and assists by a defenseman. He also left having etched his name into the Eagles record book ranked 5th overall in points (356), 2nd in games played (382), and 6th in goals (111). He also owns an NCAA championship as a member of the University of North Dakota team which captured the NCAA title in 2000.
Tim Branham - Assistant Coach
Branham, 40, enters his first season as an Eagles assistant coach after spending the previous eight seasons as the head coach and general manager of the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies. After beginning his career as Utah’s bench boss in 2013, Branham has since become the winningest and longest-tenured coach in Grizzlies history. The Eagles River, Wisconsin native guided the Grizzlies to a record of 284-205-76 and six playoff appearances during his time in West Valley City.
Prior to earning his first head coaching position, Branham spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Reading Royals from 2010-2013. During his time with the Royals, the team went 143-89-23 in the regular season and captured the 2013 Kelly Cup title.
Branham was drafted in the third round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks and played 284 professional games in the ECHL and AHL during his playing career as a defenseman from 2002-2010.
Peter Budaj - Goaltending Coach
Budaj, 40, is in his second season as the goaltending coach for the Colorado Eagles and joined the team midway through the 2021-22 campaign after former goaltending coach Ryan BAch exited to become team president. The 63rd overall pick in the 2001 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, Budaj's career spanned 368 games with the Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Slovakian native posted a record of 158-132-40 across 13 seasons in the Natioal Hockey League. He also appeared in 241 AHL contests with the Hershey BEars, St. John's IceCaps, Syracuse Crunch and Ontario Reign. Budaj was named the AHL's top goaltender for the 2015-16 season, a year in which he led the league with the lowest goals-against average at 1.75. He would punctuate his career by representing Slovakia on two different occasions at the Winter Olymics.
Steven Petrovek - Director of Business Operations
Petrovek is in his fourth season as the Director of Business Operations for the Colorado Eagles. Prior to his time with the Eagles, he spent three seasons as the video coordinator of the San Antonio Rampage (2015-2018) and one year in the same position with the Lake Erie Monsters (2014-15). He was named business/video coordinator prior to the 2017-18 campaign.
Petrovek joined the Avalanche's American Hockey League affiliate in July 2014 after three seasons (2011-2014) as a volunteer assistant coach for the University of Denver men's hockey team. Some of his responsibilities with the Pioneers included assisting with in-game video analysis, helping the coaching staff with post-game video breakdown, compiling game stats and overseeing the hockey operating system iOS Thunder Hockey HD.
The Yarmouth, Maine, native graduated from DU in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in American government and politics.
Brent Woodside, ATC - Head Athletic Trainer
Woodside joins the Eagles after recently finishing his fourth season as the head athletic trainer for the San Antonio Rampage. Prior to joining the Rampage, Woodside spent five seasons in the same position with the Lake Erie Monsters (2010-2015) and seven years in the Central Hockey League.
After earning his bachelor's degree in Athletic Training from Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois, in the spring of 2000, Woodside began his career at a rehab clinic in southern Illinois. Eighteen months later, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to pursue his Master's degree in Sports Administration at the University of New Mexico.
While pursuing his degree at New Mexico, Woodside worked with the school's football team as a member of the sports staff for a year-and-a-half. In February of 2003, he joined the New Mexico Scorpions of the CHL as the club's head athletic trainer, a position he held until May 2005. From September 2005 to May 2006, Woodside served as the head athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach for the Corpus Christi Rays of the CHL before returning to the Scorpions in the same capacity from September 2006 to May 2009. After spending three years with the Scorpions, Woodside took his skills to Allen, Texas, to serve as the head athletic trainer and conditioning coach for the Allen Americans of the CHL during the 2009-10 season.
Adam Strecker, ATC - Assistant Athletic Trainer
Strecker is in his first season as the Eagles Assistant Athletic Trainer. Prior to his time with the Eagles, Strecker spent four seasons as the Head Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Tri-City Storm of the USHL.
Prior to his time in the USHL, Strecker worked at Gillette Physical Therapy in Gillette, Wyoming. He provided athletic training services to the Gillette Wile (NA3HL) Hockey program, along with Gillette College Rodeo, Gillette College Men and Women's Basketball, Gillette College Men and Women's Soccer, Moorcroft High School athletics, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, Little Guy Football League, and American Legion Baseball.
Strecker earned his bachelor's degree in athletic training from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2017.
Bryce Blinkhorn - Head Equipment Manager
Blinkhorn is entering his third season as the Eagles Assistant Equipment Manager after recently having served as an Assistant Equipment Manager at the University of Minnesota-Duluth for the previous four seasons.
Blinkhorn also worked as an assistant during the Colorado Avalanche's Stanley Cup Playoff run in both 2020 and 2021.
Joe Pionk - Assistant Equipment Manager
The 2021-22 season is Pionk's second as the Eagles Assistant Equipment Manager, after spending the previous two seasons as the Head Equipment Manager for the USHL's Omaha Lancers. In addition, the Hermantown, Minnesota native spent the 2018-19 campaign as the Lancer's Assistant Equipment Manager before being promoted to the top spot in 2019.
The 22-year-old is the younger brother of current Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk.
Bobby Lucas - Strength and Conditioning Coach
Originally from Denver, Colorado; Lucas comes to the Eagles for his first season after working with the University of Michigan Hockey program last season. He spent the past three summers working with Prentiss Hockey Performance in Stamford, CT with numerous NHL players across the league.
Prior to Michigan, Lucas was with the Chicago Steel (USHL) for two seasons as Director of Performance & Sports Science. Before joining the Steel, he was again with the University of Michigan as a graduate assistant while getting his master's in Sports Management.
Lucas graduated from Penn State in 2016 with his degree in Kinesiology, and a focus in Movement Science. As an undergrad, he interned with the Penn State women's hockey and field hockey programs and worked for USA Field Hockey as Assistant Performance Coach during his senior year and through the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Lucas also worked at Evansville University, overseeing nine of the school's D1 teams and with USA Rugby as a Performance Science Consultant.