National Bound Coaching Staff
Armstrong Arrows "National Bound" Program 2023-2024 Coaching Staff
Meet the Coaching Staff
Armstrong Arrows "National Bound” Program Coordinator &
16U / 18U Head Coach - Lee Grafton
"My goal as the Armstrong Arrows “National Bound” Program Coordinator and Coach is to develop hockey players so they can reach their maximum potential through skill development, increasing their hockey knowledge and raising their compete level through hard work. I believe every player in the National Bound Program should give 100% all of the time. My coaching staff and I will push our players outside their comfort zone to become better players."
“I plan to build upon the Armstrong Arrows “National Bound” Teams’ success. As an elite Tier II Program, we will continue to compete for League, State and National Championships yearly. Our “National Bound” Teams will play in tournaments and independent games that will allow our players to showcase their talents to prep schools, junior and college hockey teams."
Lee Grafton has 12 years of playing experience that includes the Armstrong Arrows, Pittsburgh Amateur Penguins, a 5-year varsity letterman for Armstrong Central / Kittanning and 3 years of Junior hockey for the Pittsburgh Junior Penguins, Pittsburgh Junior Renegades and the Casper (Wyoming) Junior A Wranglers. Lee has played in Nationals as a member of the Pittsburgh Amateur Penguins and the Penguin Cup Finals as a member of the Armstrong Central Cougars. He has been a captain for his amateur, varsity and junior teams. Lee was inducted into the Armstrong Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.
Lee has 14 years of coaching experience that includes the Armstrong Arrows, Armstrong River Hawks Varsity, Kittanning Varsity and Team Pittsburgh hockey teams. The Armstrong Arrows “National Bound” 16U Team qualified for the USA Hockey National Championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018 with Lee as their head coach. In 2016, the Armstrong Arrows lost in the National Championship Game. In 2017, the Armstrong Arrows lost in the National Championship Semi-Final Game and the Quarterfinals in 2018. Lee also assisted on the Armstrong Arrows 18U Teams that qualified for the USA Hockey National Championships in 2019 and 2022.
The Armstrong Arrows 16U Team won 4 consecutive AA PAHL Playoff Championships 2017-2020.
The 2017-18 Armstrong River Hawks Varsity Hockey Team was the AA regular season and the Penguin Cup Champions in Lee’s first year as head coach of the River Hawks which eventually lost in the longest PA State Championship Game ever (5 Overtimes). Lee was also a member of the Kittanning Varsity coaching staff during the 2005-06 Penguin Cup Finals.
Lee was an assistant coach of 2018 Team Pittsburgh that won America’s Showcase.
Level 4 USA Hockey Coaching Certification / USA Hockey Director Certification
18U Co-Head Coach - Tanner Gilliland
"As a coach of the 18U Tier II National Bound Armstrong Arrows, my goal is to not only have the kids develop into better players, but also to grow into young adults. Aside from hockey, I want to teach my players accountability, respect, and responsibility, As hockey players, my goal is for players to continue to grow their current skills, develop new traits, and build confidence in their game. Furthermore, us coaches will strive to get the best out of our players, so we can be extremely competitive in tournaments, league play, and independent games. Additionally, another goal is to put our players in the best roles to succeed so our team can win MID-AMS and have a chance to compete for a National Championship yearly. Lastly, I want to pass along my knowledge and experience to these players and be able to share success with them."
Tanner started playing hockey at 5 years old, in the year 2000 with the Armstrong Arrows organization, then moved onto the Pittsburgh Hornets/Penguins Elite AAA program and finished his 14-year amateur career with the Esmark Stars AAA organization. Tanner also played 6 years of high school hockey for Butler, where he appeared in 2 all-star games, and also played for Team Pittsburgh in his senior year in 2013. Tanner wore the alternate captain and captain in his playing years for Butler. After high school and amateur hockey, Tanner attended IUP and played for their ACHA Division 1 team. Overall, Tanner has 17 years of playing experience.
This will be Tanner's 4th year as a coach in the National Bound Program. Tanner started his coaching career in 2020-2021 with the 18U Armstrong Arrows National Bound Team which has been very competitive each year. Last season the 18U Team won the Mid Am Championship and earned a birth for the USA Hockey National Championship.
National Bound Coaching Staff - Valentino Hernandez
I am excited to be a part of the Arrows National Bound Program! The achievements this organization has accomplished at the U18 and U16 levels is reflective of the commitment to excellence the organization and coaching staff have for the Arrows players. Through a combination of on and off ice training our players will be prepared to optimize their performance in games. Individual skill development and team play is necessary for players at every age to elevate their game. Our Arrows players will be given the tools to excel with respect to skill development and team strategy. By helping our Arrows players to grow as students of the game, they will be prepared as they advance to U16, U18, Juniors, and College. Ultimately, my goal is that my players not only become great hockey players but also grow into mature and responsible young adults.
I have thirteen years of playing experience at the AA, AAA, and Junior levels. My youth days were spent playing Mite AA/Squirt AA with Cleveland Heights (OH), PeeWee AA with Mentor (OH) then Shaker Heights (OH), Bantam AAA with the Cleveland Americans, one year of High School with University School (OH), and Midget AAA with the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks. I participated at USA Junior Nationals three consecutive years. Two of those years were with the Cleveland North Coast Barons of the Central States Hockey League (CSHL) and one year with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks of the Western States Hockey League (WSHL). I was also selected to attend the USA Hockey Select 17 National Team Camp in Lake Placid, NY.
I am a USA Hockey Level 5 Certified Coach with over 15 years of Coaching Experience. I have coached at the AA/AAA, High School, and Junior levels. I was a scout at the NAHL level for 3 years and the NCAA DIII level for two years. I have been involved with USA Hockey Mid Am for seven years with their Player Development Camps. I was an assistant coach at the USA Hockey Select 15 National Team Camp in Rochester NY. As Co-Head Coach of Team Cleveland we earned a Bronze Medal at the U18 Tier II USA Hockey National Championships. As General Manager/Head Coach I helped the Wooster Oilers grow from a Junior C team in the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League (GLJHL) to a Tier III Junior A contender in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MNJHL), North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), and the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL). The last two years I have been coaching my son’s ADM Mite Vipers team and Freeport Mini Jackets ADM Mite team. I also served as Director of Coaches for Freeport Hockey this past season.
National Bound Coaching Staff - Nick Long
“My goal as a coach for the National Bound Program is to use my hockey knowledge and experiences to help our players develop the skills they need to reach the next level. I am committed to developing our players into outstanding young men. I know firsthand that the lessons players learn through hockey translate to countless other life skills such as accountability and being a good teammate.”
“I believe in continuously adapting to systems that fit our team and establishing a team identity that we play like regardless of competition. Having played for many different coaches at different levels, I have seen varying coaching styles and look forward to applying the ones I found to be the most efficient to our team.”
Nick has 20 years of playing experience on several teams starting with the Armstrong Arrows. There were times when Nick was playing for 3 different teams all in the same season. Nick made the jump to AAA hockey with the Pittsburgh Hornets when he was 13. He started playing prep school hockey with Shady Side Academy when he was 15. After a year of prep hockey, he decided to move back to AAA with the Penguins Elite where he was a part of the first National Championship Team in 2016. In the summer of 2016, Nick signed with the Elliot Lake Wildcats of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL). Nick spent 2 years with the Wildcats, serving as assistant captain in his rookie year and captain of the team in his second year as well as representing Team NOJHL at the Eastern Canada Cup. Following his junior career, Nick committed to play NCAA DIII hockey at Wilkes University. Needing a change, Nick transferred to play ACHA DI hockey at Aquinas College where he served as captain of the team in his Junior and Senior year.
National Bound Coaching Staff - Jacob Snyder
"My goal as a coach is that the players will show great improvements from the start of the season to the end. The National Bound program has a history of improving players and taking them to the next level. I want to continue that by creating great young men both on and off the ice. There are many life lessons that can be learned from hockey such as work ethic, accountability, and selflessness and I hope these lessons can be passed on to the players."
"I also believe that we will compete at the highest level and push the team to win MID-AMs and compete at Nationals. As a player who qualified for nationals during my playing career, I believe I can help take this team to the next level."
Jacob has 10 years of playing experience starting with the Armstrong Arrows. He moved to the Pittsburgh Huskies where he played for 8 years and qualified for the USA Hockey National Championships 3 times. He also played 7 years of high school hockey for the Kittanning Wildcats and Armstrong Riverhawks and was a part of the team that were Penguins Cup finalists in 2015.
This will be Jacob’s 4th year with the National Bound program. Jacob has 5 years of coaching experience including 2 years coaching the Armstrong Middle School team before joining the National Bound Program.
Level 4 USA Hockey coaching certification
National Bound Coaching Staff - Tyler Snyder
“My goal as a coach in the National Bound Program is to develop players and push them to play at the highest level possible. Moving forward, we want to prepare these players to compete for League Championships, State Championships, and National Championships.”
"I believe in two things as a coach - Moving is improving and competition breeds success. My goal is to take our players skating to the next level through constant overspeed skating and pushing the players outside of their comfort zone. We also want to have their skills improve by implementing small area games and competitive drills in alignment with USA Hockey’s development model, along with drills that make them compete and make decisions at full speed. This provides a competitive environment where players are challenged to get better by their peers, which promotes sound decision making and skill development in all areas of play."
Tyler Snyder has 6 years of playing experience between the Armstrong Arrows, Pittsburgh Huskies and Kittanning High School before finishing his career at University of Pittsburgh Johnstown.
This will be Tyler’s 6th year as a coach in the National Bound Program. Tyler has 9 years of coaching experience that includes 3 years with the 18U Pittsburgh Huskies before taking an assistant coaching position with Coach Lee Grafton of the Armstrong Arrows 16U National Bound Team.
Level 4 USA Hockey Coaching Certification
19U Girls Head Coach – Scott Williams
"As the head coach of the 19U Tier 2 Girls Team, I plan to continue the winning tradition of the Armstrong Arrows Girls Program. The coaching staff and I plan on fielding a competitive Tier 2 Team, and ultimately represent the Armstrong Arrows at the USA Hockey National Championships. I believe with hard work from a dedicated team and coaching staff we could be in the running for a National Title. Most importantly the goal is to teach the girls the value of teamwork, discipline, and values that will help them become well rounded individuals outside of this great sport. The coaching staff and I will also provide all the tools possible for the girls to take their game to the next level and prepare them to play at a collegiate level if so desired."
"I’m very excited about this opportunity and can’t wait to get started!"
Scott has been involved with the Armstrong Arrows program for over 8 years. He has two daughters that have played for the National Bound Program and are continuing their playing careers in college.
Scott started playing hockey in 1993. He was a 4-year Varsity letterman playing 2 years at Penn Trafford High School and 2 years for Kittanning High School. Scott was a two year All Star as well as a member of Team Pittsburgh.
After high school Scott went on to play for Penn State West where he was selected as team MVP and invited to Jr camp in Canada.
Scott has been coaching for 9 years. All of which have been with the girls program. He served as an assistant coach for the developmental team, the Armstrong Honey Badgers. Scott was also an assistant for the 12U and 14U Armstrong Arrows Girls PAHL Team. Scott went on to coaching the Pittsburgh Vipers 16U girls Tier 2 Team before returning to serve as an assistant on the Arrows Girls 19U PAHL and Tier 2 Teams.
14U Girls Head Coach - Greg O'Donnell
Mission - To develop female hockey players to their full potential as players and people, and to ensure their confidence on the ice and in life. I feel all female players can play at the collegiate level with focus and guidance.
My plan with the 14U girls is to take the team to higher level of play and organization than have seen in the past and to prepare them for élite tier II hockey in their future play.
Coaching/Managing - USA Hockey level 4, 11 years coaching experience including amateurs, high school, and tier II. 4 trips the USA Hockey National championships.
Accolades - PIHL Girls Penguins Cup Championship, USA Hockey Nationals Silver Metal
National Bound Goaltender Coach - Nick Mish
Nick Mish joins the Arrows as goalie coach for the 2023-24 season. Coach Mish is the Owner and Founder of ETM Goaltending Development. Nick is the current goalie coach for the Johnstown Tomahawks Junior A in the NAHL as well as their affiliate the Esmark Stars AAA program. Additionally, he is a goalie development lead for the mid am district of USA hockey and lends his knowledge goalie coaching multiple travel organizations in western PA.