Zoo Bruins Staff

New Owners for a New Team

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 39+ 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.

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).



Mitch Willert, Athletic Trainer   

Mitch, a Sun Prairie Wisconsin native, is entering his first season as the athletic trainer for the Missoula Junior Bruins. 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 addition, Mitch will be providing athletic training services to the Missoula youth hockey association.

Growing up, Mitch began playing hockey at the age of 5 and played competitively up until high school graduation. Beginning at age 12 Mitch began giving back to the game by officiating local youth games. Mitch continues to play and officiate as much as possible.

Bruins staff pic-LachinaFarrah Lachina, Team Massage Therapist

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.