I4N83cdv.jpeg

bob.jpg

Bob O’Connell - CEO

Bob is the Founder of Challenger Tours and Co-Founder of the New England Pro-Am Hockey League.  For 28 years Bob had a successful career working for IBM but along the way he was involved with a few events that had the attention of the hockey world.

Born in New York City, Bob has been involved with hockey most of his life from his roller hockey days in Manhattan to helping organize the amateur hockey teams the Lynchmen and Clovers in South Boston.  Bob assisted in the development of the John Cunniff Hockey School and was an NHLPA registered agent.  He had the privilege of working for hockey legend Bobby Orr at Woolf Associates and specialized in evaluating players from the former Eastern Bloc of countries including Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus, Latvia and Ukraine.

In 1980 Bob was instrumental in obtaining for Gold Medal winner Mike Eruzione his first corporate speaking engagement at IBM.  To this day Mike continues to electrify audiences throughout America with his motivational speeches.  Several years later in 1988 Bob was responsible for bringing the former Soviet Union National Junior Team to the historic city of Quincy, MA.  This was the first time the Soviets would play an independent team consisting primarily of players from New England.  The team was coached by John Cunniff, one of the foremost coaches in USA Hockey and the NHL.

Bob became involved with women’s hockey when he first met Olympic icon Angela Ruggiero. Angela’s dynamic personality and success inspired Bob to formulate the North American Stars and compete in the Czech Hockey Challenge Cup (CHCC), one of the most prestigious tournaments in Europe.  This tournament brings together teams from throughout Europe and in their first year they beat the defending European Women’s Champion SKIF from Russia.

The North American Stars offer players an opportunity to play at a high level internationally as well as an outstanding cultural experience.  Bob’s goal of formulating teams to compete as the North American Stars against many European countries has now become a reality.


CoachesHeadshot_large.jpg

Tori Pizzuto - Team Gold

Tori has been named the 1st Program Coordinator of the LA Lions. Tori comes to us from Waterbury, CT where she started playing hockey at the age of 4. Tori played youth hockey with the CT Polar Bears from 2004-2010. Each year her teams qualified for the USA Hockey Nationals Tournament. Throughout her 6 seasons, her teams took home two Bronze Medals and one Silver Medal at the National Championships.

From 2006-2010 Tori attended Westminster High School in Simsbury, CT. Competing on both their Varsity Girls Ice Hockey team and Varsity Softball team. In 2007 the girl’s hockey team made their first ever appearance in playoff play. In 2009 Westminster’s girl’s hockey team progressed to placing first in League play taking home the Founder’s League titles. In 2010 Westminster was crowned the New England Prep School Girls Hockey Champions for the first time in school and program history with Tori contributing the game winning goal in their 3-1 victory over Lawrence Academy.

In 2010 Tori committed to Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY for her first year of college hockey. Tori was a part of the 2011 ECAC Women’s East Championship team that defeated previously undefeated Norwich Cadets 4-2. The next 3 years of her collegiate campaign were spent at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. During the first game of her junior year campaign, Tori found her season fell short after suffering from a broken femur. She returned healthier than could be to the Beacons in the 2013-2014 where the women captured their first ever Codfish Bowl title. Tori finished her collegiate career at Castleton University where the Spartans competed in a race for their first ever ECAC Women’s East title but fell short losing just 1-0 in a very close championship game. She graduated in May of 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Castleton.

Shortly after graduation, Tori joined the production team at NBC Sports in Stamford, CT where she spent her first year out of college working behind the scenes for NHL, NFL, and Barclay Premier League productions. In her spare time from working at NBC Tori also helped to coach the 12U CT Polar Bears.

In the summer of 2016, she came out West looking to work with an NHL team where she landed a spot with the Los Angeles Kings working as a part of their Hockey Development team on the Chariot Staff. She then joined the Lions in August of 2016 as an assistant coach for the 12U team. Serving as head coach of the program's first-ever 16uAA National Bound team, for the 2017-2018 season. In the 2018-2019 season, Tori served as the Assistant Coach for the 12uAA2 team which went undefeated in California girls hockey play taking home gold at both the Anaheim Lady Ducks Fall Classic and the MLK Girls/Wome's Tournament in San Jose. Tori returns for her 4th season as Head Coach of the 16uAA and Assistant Coach for the 12uAA1 Team. 

Tori spends her free time in LA training and playing for the LA Lions Women's Senior C team which took home California's first-ever Senior C National Championship title in 2018 and returned to the championship this past season taking home Silver in 2019. Tori serves as Assistant Captain and Manager for the LA Lion Women. 


image1.jpeg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Alisha Day - Head Coach team red

Alisha Day is in her first year of coaching within the North American Stars program. Day is an alumnus of the program, having competed as a player on the NA Stars - Team Red in 2015 where she competed in the Czech Challenger Cup in Prague, and assisted the team in earning a Bronze medal during the tournament. Day, of course, scoring the game winning goal to clinch the Bronze medal.    

Day comes to the NA Stars after being an Assistant Coach for Aquinas College for the previous four seasons, including the team’s inaugural season in 2015-16. 

During the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, Day also worked as an Assistant Coach for the Cranbrook Girls Hockey Team within the Cranbrook-Kingswood College Preparatory School. During her time at Cranbrook, the Cranes won the Catholic League Championship and competed in the State Playoff Championship game, earning 2nd at States.

Day has also been involved in coaching at multiple USA Hockey Camps including the Girls 15’s National Player Development Camp in 2018 and 2019, and the Michigan District Development Tryout Camp for the past six years. Of the six years working Michigan’s District Tryout Camp, Day has been director of the camp for two, 2018 and 2019.

Prior to coaching, Day was a five-year member of the Grand Valley State University Women’s Ice Hockey team from 2010-2015. She served as a team captain during her junior and senior seasons. She was a dynamic player, both the powerplay and penalty kill. Day played in 140 games, with 70 goals, 57 assists, and 127 points during her time at GVSU.

As a Laker, Day also earned honors including ACHA All-Academic Honors 2011-13, Rookie of the Year in the 2010-11 season, and Highest Plus-Minus Award for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

During her time at GVSU, Day began her coaching career working with boy’s youth hockey teams. She coached youth hockey from 2012-15 throughout her time in college. During summers, Day worked for Ferris State University’s Men’s DI NCAA Summer Hockey Camps from 2010-14. 

Day holds a B.S. in Psychology from Grand Valley State University. She earned her Certification of Child Life in August 2016 and practices as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) in a Children’s Hospital in Michigan.

 




 
image1%2B%25281%2529.jpg
 

Ripley Crosley - Social Media Intern

Crosley is currently a sophomore at Miami University, where she is currently pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is the goalie for the ACHA D1 women’s hockey team there at Miami.

Before college Crosley played three seasons with the Detroit Little Caesars, winning two state championships as well as placing within the top ten at Nationals two years in a row. Crosley had 22 shut outs within her first two years at Little Caesars, and shut out Michigan State twice during the ACHA Nationals in March 2019.

Crosley will compete in the Duchess Showcase for the NA stars this summer and document the trip on our Instagram account @NaStarsWHockey.