Bob Brinkworth was humbled to once again find himself the recipient of the ACHA Men’s Division II Coach of the Year award. Having spent the last 14 seasons behind the bench of Florida Gulf Coast University’s DII Ice Hockey Team, his record going into the season was 332-58-19-5. For the 2015-2016 regular season, the record was 25-5-0 and post season, 5-0-0. FGCU has made many national tournament appearances in the last several years; but it was at nationals this year, in West Chester, Pennsylvania, that Bob led the team to their second ACHA national championship in 4 years.
He has brought so much more to the team than just his knowledge of the game. Bob is very involved on every level, from helping to guide the team to success and working to raise funds, to encouraging each and every player to be the best they can be, both on and off of the ice. He leads by example; always putting forth the maximum effort.
Bob began skating and playing hockey at a very young age in Toronto, Ontario, and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York. He played three years of NCAA Division I level hockey and was named “ECAC Rookie of the Year,” as well as “ECAC Player of the Year” two years in a row. He earned 216 points in 71 games at RPI, and is tied with Adam Oates as the third leading scorer in Rensselaer hockey history. Bob was named an All-American twice, and is considered to be one of the best captains in RPI sports’ history. He was recently inducted into the RPI Ring of Honor.
Drafted by the Montreal Canadiens upon graduation, Bob immediately turned pro. He started his professional career with the Omaha Knights of the Central Professional Hockey League (CPHL), then played in the American Hockey League (AHL) for the Providence Reds and the Baltimore Clippers. He helped capture two Turner Cups while playing in the International Hockey League (IHL). Bob played for the Port Huron Wings, the Detroit Red Wings’ farm team, from 1970-1974, and retired from professional hockey after nine seasons. He amassed 335 points as a pro. Bob went on to a very successful coaching career which began in the Michigan hockey system with such notable teams as Little Caesars “AAA” Hockey Club, and continued on to coach at the amateur and professional level. He helped produce National Hockey League standouts Adam Burt, formerly of the Carolina Hurricanes, and Mike Modano, of the Dallas Stars.
Coach Brinkworth was honored as the 2009 ACHA Men’s Division II Coach of the Year; and was selected to serve as assistant coach for the 2009-2010 ACHA DII Selects, which travelled overseas to compete against semi-professional teams in Europe. In 2012, he was selected to be the head coach and stand behind the bench for the ACHA DII Selects, again. At the conclusion of the 2014-2015 season, he was awarded ACHA DII Best Coach in the Southeast Region.
The entire FGCU Hockey community is very proud of Coach Brinkworth’s accomplishments, and look forward to many more years of collaborating to make hockey history.
Tom is a new and welcome addition to the DII coaching staff this year. A native of Chicago, he has been playing hockey since the age of 5, at which time, he first put on his goalie pads. Playing back up for his older brothers’ mites team, Tom soon found himself playing defense on his own travel team. Although he played many sports, he concentrated on hockey by the time he was 16; winning states every year with the Chicago Saints. He was selected to be a member of the Bantam Silver Stick All Tournament, as well as winning states, silver stick and nationals for the Chicago Jets. Tom was a 3 year varsity player in the Chicago Catholic League for Mt. Carmel High School, and as a sophomore was awarded the John Duran Award. A 2 time All-Star, he was named captain his senior year, winning the state championship and selected to the Illinois High School All-Star Team. He went on to attend Northwood Prep, in Lake Placid, New York, and then played for the USJHL Omaha Lancers.
After numerous shoulder injuries, he went into the U.S. Navy, and then, joined his family trucking firm. Tom realized how much he missed being involved with the game of hockey and initially volunteered as a coach, but eventually decided to do it full time, with great success and winning many tournaments along the way.
He and his wife Lorri live in Cape Coral, and they have 3 sons. In his spare time, Tom enjoys playing hockey, golf, softball and fishing. He is very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the coaching staff for DII this year.
Anthony Yezek / Associate Coach
Anthony has been named DII associate coach, again, this year, and he is certain to continue to be an integral member of the coaching staff. Originally from Peoria, Illinois, he started skating at the age of three. Anthony went on to play two seasons of Junior A Tier 3 Hockey, in Peoria; being named assistant captain of the Peoria Mustangs, a position he held from 2010-2011. He played four seasons of DII hockey with FGCU, from 2011-2015; holding the position of assistant captain from 2013-2015. A three time Academic All-American, Anthony graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting; and is currently pursuing his Master’s in Accounting and Taxation at Florida Gulf Coast University. He was selected to the North American United (NAU) Team to travel to Europe and play against European professional teams, in the summer of 2012. Currently living in Estero, Florida, Anthony has a variety of coaching responsibilities: coaching forwards as well as defensemen; assisting in the coordination of practice plans; and being a penalty kill specialist. He is most enthusiastic and excited to continue to be a part of the FGCU DII Hockey team and impart his knowledge and experience to up and coming players on the team.
A winning attitude and a love of the game of hockey brings Mike to his current position with the FGCU Hockey Team. Having closed out his playing career this past year, Mike wanted to continue to be involved with the FGCU Hockey program. He honed his skills at Westminister and Cushing Academy, in Massachusetts; then played Junior Hockey with the EJHL Huskies and the Sarnia Legionnaires of the GOJHL, in Sarnia, Ontario. Mike played D1 Hockey at the University of Indiana, where he was named Rookie of the Year, and was MVP at the Challenger Cup in Prague, the Czech Republic. At the 2015 ACHA DII Nationals, he was named to the 2nd Team All Tournament; and at the 2016 ACHA DII Nationals, Mike’s skill and agility helped lead the team to their second national championship win. He will definitely bring a new level of enthusiasm and drive as the FGCU Hockey Goalie Coach.