Head Coach & General Manager
François Methot, a native of Montreal, Quebec, was selected in the third round of the 1996 NHL draft by the Buffalo Sabres from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) at the age of 18. He started his QMJHL career as a 16-year-old with the St. Hyacinthe Lasers in the 1994-95 season. In his second season, Methot led the Lasers in scoring with 94 points in 68 games as a 17-year-old.
Methot made his professional debut with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League (AHL) in the 1998-99 season at the age of 20. He spent the first five seasons of his professional career with the Amerks, playing in 334 regular season games and 39 Calder Cup playoff games. After a season with the Portland Pirates in the AHL, Methot had a successful 11-year career in Europe playing in the German DEL league before retiring from playing professionally in 2015.
After retiring, Methot returned to Rochester and joined the Rochester Monarchs AAA Hockey Club, now the Rochester Jr. Americans, as their Director of Hockey and General Manager. He gained experience coaching at every level of the organization and was also hired as the Director of Hockey and head coach of the Rochester Ice Center Hockey Academy. He has participated in the Nashville Predators development camp for two years in a row and the Power Edge Pro camp in Toronto, which is attended by some of the biggest names in the game.
Methot has a strong commitment to constantly improving his knowledge of the game, seeking new concepts and ways to teach the game. He has travelled all over North America to learn from some of the most renowned coaches in hockey. Over the years, Methot has built a large following in the NHL, minor pro, NCAA men and women, juniors, and prep school. He trains around 150 of those players every summer at the Rochester Ice Center academy and designs the Rochester Jr. Americans hockey player development program.
Associate Head Coach
Brian Gionta is a retired American professional ice hockey player. He was born in Rochester, New York. Gionta is known for his speed, skill, and leadership on the ice.
Gionta began his hockey career at Boston College, where he played four seasons from 1997 to 2001. During his time at Boston College, he was a standout player, earning All-American honors in his senior year.
After college, Gionta was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the third round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut with the Devils in 2001 and quickly established himself as a skilled forward. In 2003, Gionta helped lead the Devils to a Stanley Cup championship, scoring a crucial goal in Game 7 of the Finals.
Gionta played for the Devils for seven seasons before signing as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens in 2009. He played for the Canadiens for five seasons and was named team captain in 2010. Gionta then played for the Buffalo Sabres for three seasons and finished his NHL career with the Boston Bruins in 2018.
In addition to his NHL career, Gionta also represented the United States in international competition. He played in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, and was named team captain for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Gionta helped lead the United States to a bronze medal in the 2018 Olympics.
After retiring from hockey, Gionta has remained involved in the sport. He served as a player development coach for the Sabres and Division 1 Niagara University. He also worked as a television analyst for the NHL Network. Gionta has also been active in the Rochester community, where he founded the Gionta Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports youth sports and education programs.
In 2015, Gagliardi joined the Boston Pride of the new National Women’s Hockey League. That season, Gagliardi was selected to participate in the first ever NWHL All-Star Game. The Pride would win the inaugural Isobel Cup, the championship of the NWHL. Prior to her professional career, Gagliardi played NCAA college hockey at Cornell University. During her four years with the team, she accumulated 89 points with the Big Red and was a part of four ECAC championship teams. She would serve as assistant captain for the team in her junior year, and co-captain in her senior year.
Most recently in 2019, she was hired by the Carolina Hurricanes where she organized and lead women’s hockey initiatives and grassroots efforts in the Carolinas. Gagliardi also developed season-long curriculum focused on technical and tactical on-ice development.
David completed an eleven year pro career having spent parts of six season in the AHL, as well as five overseas. During that time, David represented the United States National Team at the 2018 Olympics, 2010 and 2014 World Championships, and 2009 and 2017 Deutschland Cup. During his time in the AHL he spent two seasons playing for the Rochester Americans, where he led the league in wins, minutes played and saves. During his European career, he won four championships while playing for TPS Turku, and Red Bull Munchen.
As a coach David has operated Leggio Goaltending since 2013. During that time he has helped develop over 40 men and female Division one athletes, as well as some professionals. David resides in Buffalo, New York with his wife Kristen, and children Leo and Camilla.
Development Consultant Forwards
Director of Player Advancement
Director of Hockey Operations
Following his passion, he enrolled at SUNY Plattsburgh (NCAA-DIII) and earned a double-major in Business and Supply Chain Management, while working as the student Equipment Manager for five seasons, from 2005-2010. Upon graduation, Calkins was hired as the Equipment Manager by the now defunct Stockton Thunder (ECHL), replacing Rochester native Ben Laing (Buffalo-NHL) for one season. He would go on to work for the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) from 2011-2015 and the San Diego Gulls (AHL) from 2015-2017.
“I am genuinely looking forward to being a part of the Jr. Amerks family and for the opportunity to continue building the foundation of the local Rochester youth hockey market.”
Katie Vaughn, MS, RDN, CSSD, CFSC, METS
Katie has a master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY. She is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Functional Strength Coach, and a Metabolic Efficiency Training Specialist. As a nutrition coach, Katie specializes in enhancing health and improving performance by creating customized nutrition programs based on an athlete’s sport, training cycle, health and performance goals using science-based nutrition strategies.
Katie has worked with all ages and abilities of athletes including high schoolers/juniors, recreationally active adults, D1 collegiate athletes, elite and professional athletes including endurance/ultra-endurance, lacrosse, hockey, Crossfit and strength athletes, wrestling, MMA, track and field, as well as working with police and military personnel.
Being a Sports Dietitian, athlete and coach, Katie understands the challenges that come with trying to figure out the right day-to-day fueling plan to improve overall body composition and performance. By using a very tailored approach she is able to empower her clients to be the best version of themselves— fit, strong, active, energized, focused, time efficient, and driven to succeed in all that they do.
Nate VanKouwenberg, CFSC
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Dr. Russ Manalastas PT, DPT, SCS, COMT, CSCS
Lead Sports Medicine / Recovery
Lexi Stark, a native to Denver Colorado, is a Board Certified Athletic Trainer. She played hockey in high school and college. While attending the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Stark earned her B.S. and M.S. in 4years.
Aside from her experience in Division III athletics, Stark has had experience at a PT clinic and in Division I hockey.