RAHA Board Members, Terms & Bios:
Jane Hoeffner (2017) - Communications Director
Jane and her family have been members of RAHA since 2011. For the past four years, Jane has served as the manager for her son Henry’s teams and for the past year, as the Squirt B scheduler. Last season, Jane was responsible for coordinating and curating the celebration of RAHA’s 40th anniversary, including the memorabilia display at Winter Garden and the collection of photos and stories on the Web site. She greatly valued learning about the organization's rich history with the community and with Connecticut youth hockey, and as a new board member, is enthusiastic about working to continue RAHA's tradition of excellence.
Jane is a Weston resident and a longtime dedicated volunteer with many organizations there, including the Weston Women’s League, the Weston Neighbors and Newcomers Club, and the school PTOs, for which she is currently a board member and the publicity chair. Jane is a graduate of Georgetown University and has a M.Ed. from George Washington University and an MBA from Fordham University. She also spent many years as a project manager at Morgan Stanley.
While serving on the RAHA board, Jane’s ambition is to serve in a way that helps RAHA maintain a program that is well respected for its player development and its organizational integrity. She is passionate about cultivating a solid environment for players to learn more about the sport, progress to the highest level at which they desire to play, make friends, create great memories, and have fun.
Eric Presbrey (2017) - President
Eric and his wife Megan have lived in Ridgefield for 13 years. They currently have three children (Fred, Lulu, and George), with two in Mites and one a Squirts.
Eric started playing hockey in Massachusetts at about six years old and played travel hockey on Cape Cod, trekking all over eastern Massachusetts. He often played on two or three teams per season, even playing in Lake Placid tournaments in the early years just after the 1980 US Olympic hockey Miracle on Ice.
After youth hockey Eric played varsity hockey for the Barnstable High School Red Raiders and Deerfield Academy. He then went on to the University of New Hampshire to play both Division 1 hockey and lacrosse before ultimately opting to play just lacrosse. After graduation, Eric went on to play for the Boston Blazers in the Major Indoor Lacrosse League while settling into a long career of men’s hockey leagues.
Eric currently manages sales at Epsilon, a marketing/technology agency. He also races F2000 cars and runs a men’s early morning hockey group here at Winter Garden.
Eric's focus on the RAHA board is to work with the coaches, players, and parents to build the best coaching and on-ice product where the kids have fun and develop their skills, and to help provide a competitive program where young players can continue to reach toward their own personal potential.
Michael Luft (2018) - RAHA Registrar
Michael and his family have been a part of RAHA since they moved to Ridgefield in 2008. His four children (three boys and a girl) have all played hockey for RAHA, with the oldest two now in high school.
Michael joined the board in the spring 2012 and is the current RAHA board president. Since 2012, his focus during has been on enhancing the skills development of the program and working together with members of the board to make the program competitive in the State while maintaining a sense of community.
Tom McNicholas (2018) - Director of Scheduling
Tom has been involved with RAHA since 2008 and a member of the RAHA Board of Directors since 2015. His responsibilities on the Board include the title of Secretary, practice scheduler, and Squirt B Board Representative. Prior to the Board, Tom volunteered as Team manager for four seasons. Tom lives in Ridgefield with his wife Veronica and four hockey players: Kate (2000, Junior on RHS Varsity Girls Team), Kevin (2002, Bantam), Owen (2005, Pee Wee), and Ryan (2007, Squirt).
Ken Silliman (2018) - Treasurer
Ken and his wife Megan grew up locally and have lived in Ridgefield for more than 13 years. They have four children in RAHA, ranging from Squirts to and Bantams, which makes Winter Garden Ice Arena literally their home away from home.
Having four children at different age and skill levels provides an opportunity to look at the game and player development through multiple lenses. Ken appreciates that the objective of fostering a culture of respect, fairness, transparency, and fun are a critical deliverables to each player and their families. He believes celebrating every victory, whether it is winning a state championship or a player stepping on the ice for their first Mite game, is important, as sometimes it’s the smallest of victories that teach a player to believe in themselves and reach their greatest potential.
On a professional level, Ken manages sales and trading teams in North America, Europe, and Asia, which has helped broaden his perspective and appreciation for the organizational strengths that can be achieved through a variety of different talents, backgrounds, and diverse points of view.
Dennis Bishop (2019) - Vice President, Hockey Operations & Legal
In addition to his lifelong experience playing and coaching hockey, Dennis has RAHA in his blood as the son of one of RAHA’s founding members. Dennis had the honor of playing on the very first RAHA (formerly RYHA) Squirt A travel team during the inaugural 1975-76 RYHA season. A native of Ridgefield, Dennis has two children: Jimmy (2006) carries on the family tradition as a member of the RAHA Squirt A1 team, and Lizzy (2009), one of the Lions’ most loyal fans and boisterous supporters!
Following his youth hockey career, Dennis attended prep school at Phillips Academy Andover where he was a member of the varsity hockey team. Dennis also played collegiate hockey during his freshman year at Colgate University, where he was a member of the varsity hockey practice squad.
Dennis’ coaching experience includes serving as co-head coach for the 2013-14 RAHA Mite B team and assistant coach for both the 2014-15 RAHA Mite B team and 2015-16 Squirt B team. He is currently assistant coach for the 2016-17 Squirt A1 team and is a USA Hockey Level 3 certified coach. In addition to coaching travel hockey, Dennis has coached Little League baseball in Ridgefield since 2012 and taught Sunday School at Jesse Lee Memorial Church in Ridgefield.
Professionally, Dennis is a commercial contracts/technology lawyer and has also served as legal counsel to numerous youth activity-oriented non-profit organizations.
Ross Graber - Director of Schedulers & Managers
Ross and his family are new to Ridgefield, having moved to town last summer. Drawn to Fairfield County for his work, Ross and his wife Gretchen considered RAHA a key selling feature that attracted them to Ridgefield. They were impressed by the balance RAHA strikes between the camaraderie of a community-based hockey club and the competitive aspirations that are clear in the program’s construction. They committed their two sons (Isaac, 2005, and Pierce, 2006) to RAHA teams before finding a house to live in!
Prior to moving to town, Ross’ boys played all five years of their hockey careers with the Ramapo Saints in Monsey, NY. There, Ross served as manager and scheduler for Pierce’s teams. Upon joining RAHA, Ross volunteered as scheduler for the Squirt A team, building an ambitious, balanced and fun-filled schedule -- all while navigating the ins-and-outs of CHC hockey. He is now knowledgeable of CT, NJ, and Hudson Valley youth hockey, including clubs, clinics, regional tournaments, and their organizers.
Ross is a professional marketer and for the last six years has worked as a Research Director at Wilton-based Research and Advisory firm, SiriusDecisions. He advises leading business-to-business organizations on marketing operations and is a recognized thought leader in his field and a frequent speaker at events. Ross’ experience with not-for-profit boards, includes nine years of service on the board of Montebello Jewish Center, where he held executive positions including Vice-President, Financial Secretary, and Treasurer.
Hilary Kao - Secretary & Winter Garden Relations
Hilary was born and raised in nearby Pound Ridge, New York and returned to live there seventeen years ago with his wife, Ja. They have two boys playing at RAHA. Andy is a rising Bantam, who started in RAHA as a Squirt and played on the PeeWee B team this past season. Teddy is going on his fourth season as a Mite and was on the Mite A team last season.
Hilary am running for the RAHA board, because he would like to give back to this wonderful youth hockey program that has been an integral part of their family’s lives these past few years. He has a broad perspective of the challenges and expectations the program, parents and children face, as his kids have played across the range of teams in the program. Hilary would like to see RAHA continue to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment, work to develop all players at every level, emphasize coaching of sports and life skills and, most importantly, ensure kids learn to love and respect the game of hockey and have a positive experience from their time at RAHA. Hilary’s oldest son, Andy, is still recovering from a concussion he suffered during practice in February. He have a keen interest in player safety on and off the ice. In managing his recovery, Hilary has learned that some youth sports programs and schools have their athletes take baseline assessments to aid in evaluating players after they suffer a head injury. He would like RAHA to adopt best practices for player safety in a cost-effective way for families, which may involve education and program-wide assessments. Given how much time, money and emotional capital families and players put into this sport, families’ experiences from RAHA should be as positive and safe as possible. Winning is great, but is not the only thing.
Hilary has been a parent volunteer coach for my kids’ youth sports, including house-level hockey before they were involved in travel hockey so he has some understanding of the challenges coaches face in helping kids focus, grow and develop. When he was younger, he helped run and serve as head coach for his college’s club level rowing program. Hilary has a deep appreciation for the struggles programs face in growing, attracting talent and keeping participants motivated. While college athletes may be far removed from youth programs, in his experience growing a club sport at a Division III college offers similar challenges – attracting and retaining athletes is as much a function of your success as it is creating a culture that attracts and keeps the athletes you want. He felt fortunate that during his six years running and coaching the program, they were able to constantly grow the number of rowers. Given that practices were at 5:30 a.m., this was no small feat. He thinks that their small club made life-changing impacts on our participants in terms of the experiences they had in college and what they learned about themselves. RAHA has that opportunity now to shape and change lives of young athletes. Hilary wants RAHA’s impact to be a uniformly positive experience.
In terms of other volunteer activities, Hilary has been active in his town, previously serving on the Pound Ridge’s Zoning Board of Appeals for several years before his law school teaching commitments out of state interfered. At present, Hilary is chair of the Pound Ridge Community Church Play School Board and a volunteer ambulance driver for the Pound Ridge Lions Volunteer Ambulance Corp.
On a professional level, Hilary is a practicing attorney, who spent 10 years at a large New York based international law firm, then spent four years in academia as a tenure track assistant professor of law at the Ohio Northern University’s Pettit College of Law. He now has a solo private practice in New York and has most recently been working in the renewable energy area.
Paul Signorelli - Special Events Coordinator
Paul and his family have lived in Ridgefield since 2005. Paul and Ana have two children, Julia and Jack, and have been members of RAHA since 2015. Their son Jack is a goalie in the RAHA program.
Growing up, Paul was a huge hockey fan and played a lot of hockey in the streets, but growing up on Long Island organized sports for him were first and foremost soccer, basketball, and baseball. Paul, perhaps not surprisingly, was a soccer goalie, playing travel soccer and high school varsity. Paul’s family were an integral part of running the town league during his travel years, and Paul helped his family in that effort, including serving as a referee in the town league for years.
Paul not only lives in Ridgefield, but he works in Ridgefield as well. Paul is a partner in a technology company in Ridgefield called r4 technologies, a company of which he is a co-founder and serves as the CTO. Paul has coached soccer in Ridgefield and continues to coach baseball in the spring.
Before moving to Ridgefield, Ana and Paul lived in New York City, where they owned an apartment in a co-op, for which Paul served on the board. As a member of the co-op board, Paul was responsible for working with the board to manage the finances and maintenance of the building.
Paul’s goal in running for the RAHA board is to support a process of continual improvement in the program. Growing up, sports played an integral part of his development both athletically and personally and his experiences have given him an appreciation of the work involved to make that development possible. His professional and personal life have given him a broad set of experiences that can benefit RAHA as they grow the program. Paul looks forward to bringing his creativity, work ethic, and management skills to help move the program forward.
Mark Sonders - Equiptment and Spirit Wear, Sponsor Development
Mark and his family have been residents of Ridgefield for the past seven years. New to the travel hockey world, his son Kyle (12) played for the Brewster Bulldogs last year and is part of the 2016-17 RAHA Peewee B squad. Olivia (8) and Ryan (6) are both playing in the Ridgefield Jaguar program but will be transitioning to RAHA in the 2017-18 season.
Mark played hockey until he was 10 years old, when he decided to dedicate his efforts to competitive tennis. After a successful junior career, he went on to play Division I for Temple University and then professionally for a couple years until injuries sidelined his efforts. He has extensive coaching experience having coached top Junior, College and Professional Tennis players. He has also coached Ridgefield Youth Football and is currently an assistant coach for the Ridgefield Tigers 6th Grade Lacrosse team.
Having grown up traveling and competing at a high level, Mark understands the time, effort and sacrifice needed by both the Athletes and Parents. This experience has shaped his approach to youth sports, and he understands that balance for the athlete, as well as the parents, are keys to having a successful athlete as well as a successful program. Mark feels that the RAHA program embodies these same values and understands that a healthy balance makes for a very successful program.
Patrick Walsh - Assistant Treasurer, Hockey Operations
Patrick is a lifelong Ridgefield resident. His son, Clayton, is a second-year Squirt player. Patrick has been actively involved in Connecticut youth hockey for more than 20 years as a hockey referee and is currently the SafeSport Director for RAHA.
Patrick loves the game of hockey and understands the importance youth sports provide our children. Hockey commands sacrifice and instills dedication, camaraderie, and pride. RAHA serves a community of individuals with common goals – fun, competitive hockey, and a program that will foster our children’s success, not only on the ice but wherever their aspirations lead them in the future.
He has volunteered his time and served the town of Ridgefield for fifteen years, three on the Zoning Board of Appeals and twelve years as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner. Patrick is a partner with the Ridgefield law firm Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP.
Kevin D. White - Sponsor Development
Kevin and his wife Anne have lived in Ridgefield since 2005. They have two sons (Jarrett and Gavin) and two daughters (Aubrey and Tessa) whose athletic activities include basketball, baseball, dance, lacrosse, and ice hockey. Gavin is a rising Bantam and Aubrey is a former Lady Lion who plays varsity ice hockey for Ridgefield High School.
Kevin was the Founder and Managing Partner of Spring Hill Capital Partners, LLC, and is now Executive Vice President with Hunt Companies (TX.) He serves as a Vice Chairman, Board of Directors, of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Foundation and is a former board member of the Beginning with Children Foundation, a Brooklyn-based charter school management organization. Kevin has 24 years of experience across a wide array of disciplines in structured finance, fixed income, and real estate, primarily in roles at Lehman Brothers. He holds an M.B.A. in Finance from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a B.A. in Chemistry from the College of the Holy Cross.
Kevin has served as a coach, assistant coach, and manager for RAHA, Ridgefield Little League, and the Lady Lions, most recently this season as an assistant coach with his son Gavin’s Peewee B team. He loves it, as he grew up in a coaching environment -- his father and two brothers are career high school and college football coaches, and he has learned a lot from watching them. Kevin is a certified USA Hockey coach (Level II).