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Our Staff

It is the professional and dedicated coaching staff that distinguishes the Iowa Renegades from other youth hockey programs.  The Iowa Renegades have a team of accomplished coaches who have played in AAA, USHL, Division I, and professional hockey.

Doug Benson
Iowa Renegades President

Contact: Doug.Benson@teamiowahockey.com

 

Hometown: Jerome, Idaho

Family: Doug and his wife, Maddi, have three kids: Ripken, Roman, and Remington

Career: Owner/Founder of Benson Wealth Management in Ankeny, Iowa

Bio: Doug is originally from Idaho where he grew up on a dairy farm. After high school, Dough played junior college baseball in Arizona before moving to Des Moines to play baseball at Grand View University. It was here that Doug met his wife Maddi, and they now reside in Ankeny with two sons: Ripken & Roman, and their daughter, Remington. He loves spending time with his family, hunting, CrossFit, attending Hope Lutheran Church, and going to his sons’ sporting events & practices.

While Doug doesn’t have hockey experience, he brings business acumen, leadership, and the entrepreneurial spirit to the organization. He has shown he can build and lead an organization from “Ground Zero” to top class in a short time frame. He is very excited about the direction of our program under the guidance of some of the most respected hockey and business minds in the area.

 


Jeremy McCulloch

 

Jeremy McCulloch
Vice President & 8U and 12U Coach

Contact: Jeremy.mcculloch@teamiowahockey.com

Hometown: Fort Dodge, IA

Family: Jeremy and his wife, Erin, have two kids: Quinn and Colin

Career: Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Vendor Financial Services (18 Years)

Education: BA in Finance from University of Northern Iowa; MBA from Colorado State University

Bio: Born in Mankato, MN, and grew up in Fort Dodge, IA. Jeremy has played casual hockey most of his life, and moved to the Twin Cities in 2004 where his children, Quinn (10) and Colin (7) started their journey in the sport. Jeremy has coached various levels of youth hockey for 7 years and loves being involved in helping kids grow their love for the sport. 

Jeremy lives with his two hockey player children and hockey playing wife Erin, in Adel, IA.


 

Jason Jaworski
Skill Coach

Hometown: Buffalo, New York

Family: Jason and his wife, Amber, have four kids: Kadence, Sarvir, Emisyn, and Poland

Bio: Jason Jaworski has a passion to bring today’s youth the Next Level. Hailing from Buffalo, NY, where he was born and raised, Jason quickly grew a passion for hockey at a young age. Growing up in Buffalo meant year-round hockey, which was a stepping-stone to his success. Since his childhood, Jason has made it to the Next Level through the vast amount of training, expertise, and exposure that he gained on his incredible journey to pro hockey.

Jason has had many personal and team accomplishments throughout his career which include: All Star teams, top 5 Defenseman scoring for NAHL (96-97), OPJHL (97-98), USHL (98-99) and UHL (04-05), 2nd team all USHL (98-99) and 2nd team all NAHL (96-97). Jason was inducted into the West Seneca Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 for his accomplishments while playing in high school at West Seneca East High School. Collegiately, Jason played for the University of Nebraska Omaha where he excelled.

Jason now enjoys working with young athletes both on and off ice to improve their overall skill. He is a certified skill/strength coach. Throughout his playing career, and now in his post player hockey life, he has had the opportunity to train some of the best hockey players at all levels. He even had the chance to work several years with Red Bull and the Red Bull Crashed Ice division as a skating coach. Jason worked with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers as a Skills/Strength Adviser along with other several high-end AAA/College/Pro players throughout North America.


Ben Poutré

 

Ben Poutré
Senior Vice President  &  12U Head Coach

Contact: ben.poutre@teamiowahockey.com 

Hometown: St-Ignace-de-Stanbridge, Quebec, Canada

Family: Ben and his wife, Tamara, have three kids: Tristan, Camren, and Cayden

Education: Advanced degrees in Engineering and Business

Career: Employed by Deere & Company since 1999, currently President & General Manager at Hagie Manufacturing

Bio: Ben grew up in southern Quebec where hockey played critical role in his development and shaped who he is today, alongside his family, farming and focus on being a good student. Ben had the chance to play highly competitive hockey (AA, AAA and Elite programs) from 6U to major college. When he played 16U AAA, he was named player of the year across all levels for the Estrie region. Ben has been involved in coaching and developing youth hockey programs, coaching skills and clinics, from entry-level skaters to advanced teams. BEN LOVES HOCKEY.

Ben states that this sport gave him so much, particularly in the areas of teaming skills, discipline, and how to develop resiliency. He is involved with youth hockey development for one main reason: he wants to give back to the hockey community that gave him so much. Ben’s overarching coaching vision is that 5, 10 and 20 years from now, our players are still involved in hockey, in any capacity. How will he and the rest of our coaching staff accomplish that? By focusing on teaching hockey skills and sense, on being coachable and good teammates, and developing good hockey habits in a fun, passionate and rewarding environment. Our players will be learning to execute basic hockey systems and tactics, enabling the full utilization and further development of those skills and good hockey habits. All in all, Ben is particularly excited to leverage the smartest hockey and business minds in the community and across the country, to operate and continually improve a best-in-class hockey player development centric environment.


 

TJ Zajac
Director of Rookies Program,Associate Skill Director

Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Career: Staff Auditor at Transamerica

Bio: TJ started playing hockey at the age of 4, starting with learn to skate then moving to learn to play. He played for a youth hockey organization called the Waukesha Warhawks from ages 6-13 before moving on to play Triple A hockey from ages 13-19. He played for several teams all over the Midwest including the Milwaukee Junior Admirals, Madison Capitols, Soo Indians, and Des Moines Buccaneers AAA. After moving to Cedar Rapids, he got involved with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders youth hockey organization.

The two years TJ spent with the program, he was involved with each age group, ranging from 8U to High School. He also spent time doing private lessons with numerous players, focusing on specific skills. During his time with the Cedar Rapids program, he helped with the Learn to Play program, and the 8U Instructional program teaching kids the fundamentals of hockey. His passion is coaching and trying to get as many kids interested in hockey as possible, as the game has given him so many great memories growing up.


Luke Davis

 

Luke Davis
Goalie Coach

Hometown: Johnston, IA

Career: Procurement Analyst, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Education: BS Marketing with a Minor in Management, ISU

Bio: Hockey shaped the rest of Luke’s life. He can still feel the looming 12-inch view from the top of the step down to the ice from the bench when he was 2-3 years old (no joke). More importantly, Luke remembers how fast he skated due to excitement when he overcame that step, literally. From that point on, hockey shaped Luke to be a competitor, an overcomer, and a teammate. He grew up playing for the Jr. Capitols, the Jr. Buccaneers, the NPI Leaf’s AAA, and the Minnesota Blades AAA as a goaltender. They were competitive. Luke was teammates with now NHL superstars such as Nick Schmaltz. He has spent the last year goalie coaching with his father Greg Davis. He even put the pads on a few times! Luke looks forward to the future of hockey here in Des Moines, and he says we will make it great!


 

Zach Gates
Treasurer

Contact: Zach.gates@teamiowahockey.com 

Hometown: Urbandale, IA

Family: Zach and his wife, Stephanie, have two kids: Noah and Kenley

Career: Director at LWBJ, a CPA, Consulting, and M&A firm with offices in West Des Moines and Ames.

Bio: Zach grew up in Urbandale, IA and has been playing hockey since he was 8 years old. Zach played travel hockey in Des Moines stating with the Jr. Bucs Squirt ‘A’ through Jr. Bucs Bantam ‘A’. From there, Zach played high school hockey for the Des Moines Capitals and went on to play club hockey at Iowa State University. Zach enjoys spending time with his family and dog, golfing, and going to the lake. Zach is excited to be a part of a new hockey program in the Des Moines area that will give kids another option and allow more opportunity to learn and play the great game of hockey.  

 


 

Brandon Dirksen
Lead Advisor of 8U Program, Head Coach

Contact: Brandon.dirksen@teamiowahockey.com 

 

Hometown: Dubuque, IA

Family: Brandon and his wife, Kristen, have two kids: Max and Mia

Career: Strategic planning for planning for a global financial services company

Education: BA in Operations Management and Information Systems (Northern Illinois University)

Bio: Brandon Dirksen grew up in Dubuque, IA, where he attended his first hockey game at the age of 10, cheering on the Dubuque Fighting Saints. That summer he traded in his basketball sneakers for a pair of hockey skates.

Hockey quickly became his love and passion, where he spent every free moment playing in the driveway and eventually captained the squirt travel team. Throughout Brandon’s hockey career, he represented the Dubuque organization in both youth and high school age levels. Brandon’s favorite hockey memory was playing with friends across the state of Iowa in an elite summer tournament held in Minneapolis. Brandon has coached in Des Moines supporting learn to play, 6U house and most recently, the 8U travel team program.

Throughout Brandon’s life, he has exhibited a growth mindset, always seeking to learn, and grow through new experiences. Most recently, Brandon earned a Mentor, Coaching and Leadership Development certificate at Grand View University. Through this work, Brandon is blessed to walk alongside individuals and teams who are seeking growth and transformation in their lives.

Brandon lives in West Des Moines, happily married to Kristen Dirksen for 12 years. They have two children—Max (8), who started skating when he was 2 and Mia (11), who enjoys competitive dance. When they’re not at the rink or the studio, you’ll likely find them at Lutheran Church of Hope for weekday and weekend festivities.


David Holdsworth

 

David Holdsworth

10U Head Coach

Contact: David.holdsworth@teamiowahockey.com 

Hometown: Wheaton, Illinois

Family: David and his wife, Victoria, have one kid: Kane

Career: Sales Manager in the Building Material Industry

Bio: David grew up playing hockey, starting in Carol Stream with the Bloomingdale Hockey Club. As he came up through the Chicago area hockey programs, David had the opportunity to play for several travel hockey associations at various levels. David was recruited to play at the collegiate level at Curry College in the Boston area but an injury ended his career. Post college, he coached Bantom Travel Hockey in Phoenix Valley and assisted in development clinics. David enjoys giving back to kids in the youth program and watching their skills develop. David says he was privileged to have great coaches that invested in him as a player throughout his career. He also states that hockey is important but bringing up successful, driven kids is what it is truly about.

 


 

Gregory Davis
Goalie Coach

Hometown: Waterloo, IA

Education: BS in Management Information Systems and BS in Business Management, Ferris State University

Bio: Gregory grew up playing hockey in Waterloo starting at 9 years old. Hockey was big in Waterloo in the early 60’s and grabbed his attention. Pus, having a mother from Edmonton helped! Gregory played house then travel hockey. Started tending with a shutout in his first game and was hooked. Gregory played high school hockey at Columbus High in Waterloo the first three years of IHSHA. They won three state championships those three years and he earned First Team-All State Goaltender two years. Gregory went immediately from high school to the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL. That same season they won the USHL championship 1978. Gregory was on the bench. Then the next season in 1979 they won the USHL Championship again and he was in the net. The following season they won the Southern Division.

That season Gregory was selected to the USHL All-Star team and was honored to represent the USHL in the Coup-Beard tournament in Leysin Switzerland playing against Germany, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia Junior teams. One hockey claim to fame; the famous Bob Mason of ’84 Olympic and Washington Capitals fame was his roommate on the trip! During the summer of ’79 Gregory lived in Minneapolis and played in the Olympic Summer Hockey League with many junior and college players. Another hockey claim to fame; he was asked to participate one session of the Olympic Tryouts in MPLS and took shots from the likes of Neal Broten, Mark Johnson, Mark Pavelich, Mike Ramsey, Bill Baker, all of whom won the 1980 Gold Medal! Gregory then walked on at Ferris State University and made the team lettering his freshman year and playing two D1 games.

After college, he ended up in Des Moines and played adult hockey both in net and on defense for many years. Once Gregory’s two sons, thanks to his wife, were old enough to skate he got heavily involved with coaching their teams including 9 years with the AAA NPI Leafs ’96 team coaching their goaltenders including his son Luke. Most recently Coach Ben got Gregory back into coaching and he has been coaching his goalies for the past few seasons. Ben and Gregory agree on all of Ben’s coaching philosophies with focus on development.

 


 

Anna Pilcher
Iowa Renegades Secretary

Contact: Anna.pilcher@teamiowahockey.com

Hometown: Norwalk, Iowa

Family: Anna and her husband, Matt, have two kids: Jacob and Isaac

Career: MidAmerican Energy for the past 27 years in various roles

Bio: Anna’s passion for hockey was kick started by both of her boys who have been involved in youth hockey for the past 6 years. Through her experience in the youth hockey world, she brings a unique perspective to the Renegades and is excited to work in this capacity for the organization. Anyone who has been lucky enough to have Anna’s family associated with their team knows how exciting of an addition this is!