Great Falls signs head coach Heimel to two-year extension
April 13, 2016
By Steve Schreck, Great Falls Tribune
The Great Falls Americans of the NA3HL have announced that head coach Jeff Heimel has signed a two-year contract with the Tier III Junior hockey program, owner Jim Keough said Wednesday.
“We’re really excited about that because anytime you get a good coach like that, you want to hang on to him,” Keough said. “It’s obvious that he’s one of the best young coaches in the country.”
Heimel, a Saint Paul, Minn., native, recently concluded his fourth season in Great Falls.
“Excited,” Heimel said. “I’ve been here long enough that if I didn’t like it here, I certainly wouldn’t have extended my contract (laughs). There’s a lot of familiarity here in Great Falls. We’ve done such a great job building up a program that’s been successful.
“I don’t know why I’d want to make a move unless it was something clearly a step up level wise. I just think we have good ownership; we just have a lot of good things that obviously matter at this level. Pretty excited.”
Said Keough: “His contract was up and we did some negotiation. He wants a national trophy. We’re almost there. We’re getting there.”
Coaching his squad to a 41-13-2 record this past season and a semifinal appearance in the North American 3 Hockey League’s Silver Cup Tournament, Heimel has resuscitated the organization, an organization that won one game five seasons ago.
“It’s hard to put into words because we were one of the worst teams in the country,” Keough said. “And now, where we ended up, it’s just a tremendous turnaround, and it’s almost all Jeff. He’s done a tremendous job recruiting, building good character out of these young men.”
The Americans have won back-to-back Frontier Division titles, made the trip to the Silver Cup in consecutive years and compiled a record of 133-68-11 in the past four seasons – all under the direction of Jeff Heimel, who alongside his wife, Megan, and two young sons, Christian and Preston, have grown to call Great Falls home.
“What a blessing he is to us,” Keough said.