NLGH 2022-23 Coaches
u19 Silver CJ Kenney (CHC/NEGHL) National Bound
CJ is a USA Hockey Level 4 certified coach who has been coaching girls hockey in Connecticut at the prep school, junior, and youth levels since 2013. She will be entering her 5th season with the Lights after leading the U19 Silver team to a 3rd state championship, a New England District Regional championship, and two appearances at the National Tournament in her first four seasons. She places a primary focus on developing complete athletes and creating a strong team culture to help prepare her players to compete at the collegiate level. She has helped dozens of players advance to playing in the NCAA and ACHA and is passionate about creating a positive and supportive environment for her team.
In the past four seasons with the Lights, she has helped more than 40 players to continue their hockey career in College!
CJ played her college career at UMass Amherst and was an assistant captain in her senior season. She also played tier 1 hockey in Massachusetts for Charles River throughout youth/high school
u16 Silver Stephen Picard and McKenna Gernander (CHC/NEGHL) National Bound
Stephen quickly fell in love with hockey and appreciated every opportunity to be on the ice. Stephen was coached by Dan Giordano during his time playing for the CT Lazers in the AAA Metropolitan Boston Hockey League.
As a freshman at Loomis Chaffee, Stephen was the only member of the 1994 birth year to play in the Founders’ League during the 2007-2008 season. During five years at Loomis, Stephen earned the Most Improved Player Award, and the inaugural Golden Buoy Award which is presented to the team’s hardest working player. Stephen was named Assistant Captain of Loomis in his final season and was coached by several longtime hockey coaches including JR Zavisza, Bob Howe and Steve Novidor.
After high school, Stephen attended Assumption College and majored in economics. As a four year NCAA athlete, Stephen steadily increased his production each season and earned awards for NE- 10 Player of the Week, Worcester Shootout All-Tournament Team, and NE-10 All Academic team every semester. Finally, as a senior, Stephen and his fellow teammates triumphed in the NE-10 Championship, winning the title for the first time in school history.
A lifelong hockey player, Stephen knows firsthand what the players endure both on and off the ice. Reflecting on his own experiences as a player allows him to relate to those he coaches. During the 2021 - 2022 season, Stephen coached the U16/17 Northern Lights team and won the CGHL U-19 Championship. Following the U16/17 season, Stephen coached alongside Kelly Keane on the U16 Tier II Northern Lights team. The U16 team advanced and competed at the New England Regional tournament. During the upcoming season, Stephen will be coaching the U16 Tier II Northern Lights team with McKenna Gernander.
As the daughter of a hockey player with over 1,000 professional games, McKenna Gernander began playing hockey at a young age and quickly developed into a player with elite hockey sense and contagious leadership qualities that bond her teams together. McKenna’s father, Ken Gernander, has followed his playing career by coaching and scouting for several AHL and NHL organizations.
As a four year NCAA athlete at Nichols College, McKenna was named captain for her final three seasons. McKenna finished her career at Nichols as one of the schools leading offensive producers as she lists in the top ten for several categories including goals and points. McKenna also played for the Nichols Varsity Lacrosse team for all four years and was named captain for her final two seasons.
Academically, McKenna graduated in four years with both an undergraduate and a masters degree.
During the past two seasons, McKenna has been an assistant coach under coach CJ Kenney on the U-19 Tier II Northern Lights team. In 2022, McKenna has been instrumental in assisting the U-19 team win the State Championship and the New England Regional Championship and advancing to the National’s quarterfinals. During the upcoming season, McKenna will be working alongside Stephen Picard on the U-16 Tier II National bound Northern Lights team.
H.S. Fall Anthony Giordano (NEGHL/CGHL)
u14 Tier 1 Dan Giordano and Mackenzie Griffith (CHC/NEGHL) National Bound
Dan Giordano ( Director, Player Development )
After playing for 15 years at the Tier 1 level, Dan has coached and developed players at all levels from Mites through Juniors over the last 25 years.
Dan was the co-founder and General Manager of the Connecticut Lazers AAA Tier 1 hockey program from 2001 through 2007 which offered teams from the Squirt Major level up through Juniors in the Empire Junior Hockey League, Metropolitan Boston Hockey League, and New England Elite Hockey League.
Most recent Achievements:
2009 - Hockey Night in Boston Boys Sophomore Champions / HNIB Sophomore All-Star Coach
2010/2011 - USA Hockey Tier 1 National U16 Ct Jr Wolfpack Coach
2011/2012 - USA Hockey Tier 1 National U12 Ct Northern Lights Coach
2012/2013 - USA Hockey Tier 2 National U18 Avon Coach
2015/2016 - USA Hockey Tier 2 National 2nd place U19 Ct Northern Lights Coach
2016 - Women's Beantown Champions U16/19 Ct Northern Lights Coach
2016/2017 - USA Hockey Tier 2 National U19 Ct Northern Lights Coach
2017/2018 - Tier 1 U19 Ct Northern Lights Coach
2018/2019 - USA Hockey Tier 2 National U16 Ct Northern Lights Coach
2019/2020 - CHC State Champs U16 Ct Northern Lights Coach
2020/2021 - USA Hockey NGHL Labor Day Face-Off U14 Tier 1 Champs Ct Northern Lights Coach
2021/2022- New England Regionals U14 Tier 1 Finalist Ct Northern Lights Coach
Dan has many former players playing in High School, Prep School, Juniors, College and the Pros. In addition to his coaching experience, Dan continues to be a valuable resource for Prep Schools, Junior Programs and College Coaches.
Mackenzie Griffith is a former Northern Lights player under the coaching of Dan Giordano. During her time at the Lights, she was a U19 Tier II Regional Champion and was Nationals bound. For high school, she attended Westminster School, a local prep school in Simsbury, CT. Griffith graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 2021, where she played on the Division I Women’s Hockey team for four years. During Mackenzie’s sophomore season at Holy Cross, the team joined the Hockey East conference.
Throughout her coaching career, she has worked several skill development hockey camps across New England. During the 2021-2022 season, Mackenzie coached part time alongside Dan Giordano on the U-14 Tier I Connecticut Northern Lights team. Mackenzie will continue as a full time assistant coach for the U-14 Tier I CT Northern Lights team during 2022-2023 season.
u14 Maroon Tier 2 Kayla Collins (CHC/NEGHL) National Bound
Kayla is entering her Seventh year coaching the Lights, previously coaching the U12 tier 1 team. She worked at the Pride Hockey Elite Camp in West Springfield, MA.
Kayla played her youth career in the Northern Connecticut/Western Mass region playing for the Springfield Jr Pics. She then continued her career by playing for Northfield Mount Hermon a prep school located in Northfield, Ma. From there she continued at Nichols College, in Dudley, Ma from 2010 to 2014, where she was named ECAC East All-Academic Team member her sophomore, junior, and senior year.