THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay Kings AAA program, and its board of directors, announced Wednesday the respective head coaches of their four teams for the 2021-22 season.
Set to guide the four clubs as their respective head coaches are:
U-13: Joe Ritson
An alumnus of the Kings, Ritson went on to play Junior A locally with the Thunder Bay Flyers.
His efforts there earned him a NCAA Division I scholarship to the University of Denver where he skated with the Pioneers for four seasons under local coaching legend George Gwozdecky.
He helped Denver capture a Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff title back in 1999 and was a future member of the WCHA All-Academic Team.
After playing professionally for a number of seasons, Ritson helped the Thunder Bay Bombers win an Allan Cup Canadian senior championship back in 2005.
He has spent the past number of seasons coaching AA hockey in Thunder Bay.
U-15: Matt Simeoni
Another alumnus of the Kings program, Simeoni played his minor hockey in the organization.
He was a goaltender on their first-ever West Regional-winning side that advanced to the then Air Canada Cup (now TELUS Cup) Canadian National Midget Championship back in 1992 in Dartmouth, N.S.
There he earned all-star team honours in net on a Thunder Bay side that went on to earn a silver medal.
A former draft pick of the Ottawa 67’s (OHL), Simeoni has spent a number of years coaching in the city, including being named head coach of the Kings’ U-13 side last season.
U-16: Lonny Bohonos
No stranger to the Kings, Bohonos returns as a head coach, having spent a number of years serving behind the bench as well as on its executive.
As a player, he starred in the Western Hockey League at forward with the Portland Winter Hawks.
Back in the 1993-94 campaign, Bohonos led all skaters there in goals (62), assists (90) and points (152) and went on to be named both a WHL and Canadian Hockey League first-team all-star at forward.
From there he went on to play in the National Hockey League with the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Bohonos also had a very successful stint in the AHL, playing at over a point-per-game pace with 385 in 362 outings before going on to an equally successful run playing in Europe in both Germany and Switzerland.
He was a two-time Spengler Cup winner with HC Davos and Team Canada and was twice named the events Most Valuable Player.
U-18: Jeff Ricciardi
Back for a second year with the U-18 Kings, Ricciardi had also coached at other levels of the program previously.
After helping the Thunder Bay Bearcats win a bronze medal at the 1988 Air Canada Cup at the Fort William Gardens, he went on to a four-year stalwart career on defence in the Ontario Hockey League with the Ottawa 67s.
From there Ricciardi went on to play parts of 14 seasons professionally, in both North America and Europe.
He was also a member of the Thunder Bay Bombers Allan Cup-winning team back in 2005 and went on to be named the Top Defenceman at the 2006 Pannon Cup in Budapest, Hungary where Thunder Bay represented Canada in a four-nation international event against Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary.
Ricciardi also serves as a scout for the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury Wolves.
Thunder Bay’s under-15, U-16 and U-18 sides will compete in the Greater Toronto Hockey League in 2021-22 while the U-13s opponents for the upcoming campaign will be determined at a later date.
The list of the complete Kings teams coaching staffs will be announced once finalized.
For more information, visit thunderbaykings.com.