Zoo Bruins Staff

LizJasonDJason and Liz DiMatteo, Owners

Jason and Liz moved to Missoula in July 2014 with their five boys. Jason has been around hockey for over 30 years, playing at both the Junior A and NCAA collegiate levels as well as coaching at both levels and now plays in the Missoula adult
hockey league, GHL. Liz is in banking while Jason works in finance. They both
enjoy spending time with their kids and they love the community of
Missoula for their support of hockey!

>>KPAX story on the new team


Experienced Coaches

Cliff Cook, Head Coach/General Manager

Cliff Cook brings 40+ years of hockey knowledge, including over 20 years of coaching and instructing at all ages. Last season he was Associate Head Coach and Director of Player Development for the Dallas Blackhawks Elite 18U NAPHL Tier I. Prior to that Coach Cook worked with the Pikes Peak Miners 16U and 18U in the NAPHL and in the five seasons prior to that he coached at the junior level with the Texas Brahmas and New Mexico Renegades of the Western States Hockey League, the 2013-14 Minnesota Junior Hockey League Bush Cup Champion Marquette Royales and the 2014-15 USPHL Champion and USA Hockey National Runner-Up New York Aviators.

Coach Cook enters his second season with the Missoula Bruins following a 28-21-1-0 first season including the first playoff win in franchise history.

In his five seasons coaching at the junior level (head and associate head coach), Coach Cook compiled a 154-87-9 record, including 83-22-2 in his final two seasons which also included the 2015 USPHL Championship and National Runner-Up and the 2014 MnJHL Championship and USA Hockey National Tournament appearance.

As a player, Coach Cook grew up playing in Dallas, TX. After starting his youth hockey career in 1979, playing youth hockey in the D/FW Metroplex for 13 years for the original Dallas Blackhawks, he left for Lake Placid, NY in 1992 and the hockey prep power Northwood School to finish the final three years of his high school career.

After Northwood, Cook headed to Iowa State University, but he wouldn’t be there long and in 1997 he signed with the Central Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Blazers. But his career would be cut short by injury, in fact he was never able to register a regular season game appearance despite three seasons of moving around the CHL and Western Professional Hockey Leagues.

As his playing days appeared over, and although he was still under contract to play, in 1997-98 he began coaching high school hockey in Oklahoma, his first official coaching job. Since then he has coached PeeWee, Bantam, Midget and Junior age groups.

Along with his coaching background, Coach Cook has also worked with the Laura Stamm Power Skating School, Pro Ambitions Hockey Camp, Player’s Edge Prep Camps and was previously the Associate Head Hockey Instructor for the Dr. Pepper Starcenter-Valley Ranch, TX from 1998-2001 and again worked as a hockey and power skating instructor for the Dr. Pepper Starcenter-Farmers Branch, TX from 2007-2009 (named Hockey Programs Manager in 2008).


Mike Anderson, Assistant Coach

Mike Anderson comes to the Missoula Jr. Bruins with a passion for the game of hockey, and a love for the city of Missoula.

Mike is originally from St. Paul, MN and moved to Missoula just three years ago. Coming from such a hockey obsessed state as Minnesota, he wasn’t sure what he would find in Missoula. Luckily, Mike found out rather quickly that Missoula has a passionate hockey community that he feels fortunate to be a part of. Plus, the city itself is gorgeous and full of different activities to pursue.

After playing hockey for his neighborhood association, Mike went on to play high school hockey for the now defunct St. Paul Saints program. After finishing his career as the career leader in points for the school, Mike pursued the dream of playing college hockey. This dream took him to the University of New England, the MnJHL with the Hudson Crusaders and finally Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Unfortunately, Mike never was able to lace up in a NCAA Div. III game, spending his last two years playing Div. III JV hockey for Saint Mary’s.

Hanging the skates up was a tough choice, but the right one. Immediately, Mike began to do play-by-play for the team. He did broadcasts on the radio, TV and online. He also began his own blog that covered the entire MIAC Men’s Hockey conference while finishing up his college degree. While in college, Mike also started his own adult hockey league (the Shop Pond Hockey League) in St. Paul, MN that is now in its sixth year of existence. During this time Mike was able to help train players at Build Your Game Hockey training in Blaine, MN with long time mentor and seasoned hockey trainer, Dave Perri. He now does hockey training, clinics and camps under the banner of Build Your Game here in Missoula.

Upon graduation, Mike moved back to St. Paul and was fortunate enough to be an assistant coach for the Mounds View Boy’s High School Hockey team for the 2014-15 season. The following summer, Mike and his wife moved out to Missoula, MT. Mike was on a men’s league team before he even had a job. The first two winters Mike coached with the Missoula Youth Hockey Association helping with the PeeWee A teams. The last season ending in a State Championship. Mike was able to write for the Hockey Writers covering the Minnesota Wild and curate his own podcast, Puck Your Stuff, while also being an “NHL Insider” for the Tootell and Tucker radio show on 102.9 ESPN-Missoula.

After taking a season off this past winter, Mike is ecstatic to be back on the ice as a coach. He could not be more thankful to team owners Jason and Liz DiMatteo and Head Coach Cliff Cook for the opportunity to coach with the Jr Bruins.


Mitch Willert, Athletic Trainer

Mitch, a Sun Prairie Wisconsin native, is entering his first season as the athletic trainer for the Missoula Junior Bruins and MAYHA. A 2017 University of Wisconsin Stevens Point graduate, Mitch received his Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and is now pursuing his master’s degree in health and human performance at the University of Montana. In his free time, Mitch enjoys exploring the outdoors, playing hockey, and spending time with friends and family.

Taylor Manning,
2nd Year UM-Athletic Training Student

Taylor is a California Bay Area native, who completed her undergrad in Portland Oregon and is completing her master’s at UM. In her free time Taylor enjoys reading, spending time with friends, and exploring Montana. She will be spending most of her year working with the Missoula Jr. Bruins hockey team and the MAYHA teams.


Farrah Lachina, Team Massage Therapist


Bruins staff pic-Lachina

Farrah Lachina, a Licensed Massage Therapist, graduated from massage school in 1995 and has been working with the Missoula Jr. Hockey
Programs since 2011. She supports the team by reducing muscle tension and improving mobility through therapeutic massage and assisted stretching tailored to athlete’s needs. Her goal is to
assist in injury prevention and accelerate recovery from injury. Farrah accepts clients at her office in Missoula; to schedule a massage contact her at 406-396-1385.







Jason White - Alaska Scout
Steve Anderson - Minnesota Scout