Meet Our Staff
WBS Knights Coaching Staff
Coach Kowal is a native of Anchorage, Alaska. Kowal is entering his seventh season with the WBS Knights. Tom grew up playing AAA hockey in Anchorage, Alaska and went on to play junior hockey for the Omaha Lancers (USHL) and Division I college hockey at both the University of Alaska-Anchorage (WCHA) and the University of Nebraska-Omaha (CCHA).
After college, Tom entered coaching as an assistant coach in the USHL with Omaha Lancers and the Tri-City Storm. He then moved to the NAHL where he spent time coaching as an assistant coach for the Youngstown Phantoms.
Coach Kowal helped lead the WBS Jr. Knights U16 American team to an AYHL Championship and the Junior A team to a AJHL President Cup Championship.
Coach Vasko is a native to Kiev, Ukraine and represents the former Soviet Union Hockey Training School.
Alex started his professional playing career in Eastern Europe Hockey League in 1995. In 1999 Alex moved to the United States to continue his playing career in Gold Rush AWHL, Sioux City Musketeers USHL and Mohawk Valley UHL. Alex also participated in NHL Rookie Camps of Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning and in ECHL, UHL Training Camps.
In 2007, Alex moved to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area to begin his coaching career as a Head Coach with WBS Jr. Knights Youth Hockey Club. For five in a row, Alex has been selected as AYHL All Star Game Coach. From 2012 through 2014 hockey seasons, Alex led his teams to a National Championship and in 2012 won National Championship with his Bantam Major AAA Team.
Coach Vasko has coached and trained NHL player Ivan Provorov – Philadelphia Flyers (NHL Draft 2015, 1st Round, 7th Overall), Denis Smirnov – Colorado Avalanche (NHL Draft 2017, 6th Round, 156th Overall), CJ Yakimowicz – St. Louis Blues (NHL Draft 2014, 6th Round, 172nd Overall), Nikita Pavlychev – Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL Draft 2015, 7th Round, 197th Overall) and Dmitri Zaitsev – Washington Capitals (NHL Draft 2016, 7th Round, 207th Overall).
In addition to the six NHL draft picks, Coach Vasko has developed players currently committed by the Big 10 and other Division 1 Colleges: Denis Smirnov, Nikita Pavlychev, Paul DeNaples and Jacob Goldowski – Penn State, NCAA Div. I – Big Ten; Eugene Fadyeyev – Ohio State, NCAA Div. I – Big Ten; Derek Hamelin – Canisius College, NCAA Div. I; Marcus Joseph – Sacred Heart University, NCAA Div. I; Vlad Dzhioshvili, University of Vermont, NCAA Div. I; Konstantin Chernyuk- University of Maine, NCAA Div. I; Jacob Hamacher and Gavin Lewis – RIT, NCAA Div. I; Joseph Campolieto – Union College, NCAA Div. I.
Coach Whiteside enters his third full season as the WBS Knights NAHL team’s assistant coach. Whiteside’s responsibilities include recruiting coordinator, coaching the Knights defenseman, assisting in the planning & running of practices, penalty kill, and video analysis. Whiteside is the current USA Select Development Coach and WBS Director of Scouting.
Before Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Whiteside spent time as an assistant coach with the Kenai River Brown Bears in the NAHL. He was also selected to serve as video coach for USA Hockey in the 2013 Boys Select U17 Five Nations Tournament that won gold in Trnava, Slovakia. In the summers, Whiteside serves on the coaching staff for USA Hockey’s Atlantic District Player Development Program – comprised of the best youth & junior hockey players in the New Jersey, Delaware and Greater-Philadelphia area.
A Native of Philadelphia, PA, Whiteside earned his bachelor’s degree in 2015 from Niagara University in Sports Management, where he was a 4-year letter winner serving on the NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey coaching staff; breaking down game film, compiling game analysis & teaching tapes for player/coach review and assisting with practice.
Coach Fusco is a certified level 4 coach with USA hockey and has spent the past three years coaching and assisting at several different levels of hockey. He is currently the Head Coach of the WBS Knights EHL team. Coach Fusco was previously the head coach for Southlake high school JV and assistant coach for the varsity team as well as an assistant coach for the Texas Brahmas 18U team. Additionally, he has served as a head coach for Pro Ambitions Hockey schools on the west coast.
Josh had a playing career that consisted of five years of Junior Hockey, NCAA Division 3 and he played professionally in Europe and in the semi-pro leagues in the U. S.
During the summers, Coach Fusco works with elite NCAA D1 and D3 players as well as younger players individually with skill development and off ice strength and conditioning programs.
Coach Moucha coaches the WBS Jr. Knights U16 and U18 teams as well as consults with all teams in the Knights organization.
Martin re-located to the United States in 2000 from Mlada Boleslav in the Czech Republic. He was recruited to play Ice Hockey for Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School in Kingston, PA at sixteen years old. While at Seminary, Martin played in the Met League, Junior B, for the Little Flyers, winning the Kegan Cup, 2003. After graduating from Wyoming Seminary in 2003, he played Junior hockey in Albany, NY for the CD Selects (EJHL). Martin then went on to play college hockey and graduated with a Civil Engineering degree from Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont in 2008. Since graduating from college Martin has played in the AHL for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the ECHL for the Wheeling Nailers and Elmira Jackals and also suited up in the Federal Hockey League for the Danbury Whalers and the Williamsport Outlaws.
Martin recently received his Level 5 Coaching Certification through USA Hockey. He has coached Wyoming Seminary Prep (2009-11) with Head Coach Glenn Patrick for two years. Marty has also coached the Pocono Pirates U-16 A Midget Team (2008-09), winning both the DVHL and Atlantic District Championships, and the Wilkes-Barre Junior Pens, U-18A team (2012-13), DVHL Play Off Champions.
Coach Giroux is a Canadian ice hockey defenceman that played with Metallurg Novokuznetsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
Giroux, who shoots left, played collegiately at Yale University. During the 1997–98 season, he captained the best team in school history as Yale won their first ECAC regular season title (Yale has since won another regular season title in the 2008-09 season) and advanced to the NCAA tournament after only having been picked to finish in 10th place at the beginning of the season. In addition to being a 1st-team All American, Giroux was named ECAC Player of the Year as well as the league’s best offensive defenceman and was one of ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate player.
Giroux spent time in many NHL organizations before leaving the US to play overseas. He has played in the AHL for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and in the NHL for both the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils.
Playing for Ak Bars he became Russian champion (2005/06) and IIHF European Champions Cup winner (2007). Giroux made his Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) debut playing with SKA Saint Petersburg during the inaugural 2008–09 KHL season. He participated in 2009 Kontinental Hockey League All-Star Game.
Coach Svistunov is the goaltender coach of the WBS Knights. As a native of Moscow, Russia, Svistunov played hockey for the WBS Knights prior to joining the Buffalo State Bengals. As a mechanical engineering major, Svistunov racked up an impressive 92% and 80% save percentage in the net for the WBS Knights and Bengals respectively.
As the first Romanian to play professional hockey in North America, Mihály began playing in the United States at the age of 17 after having been offered a scholarship to Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School in Kingston, PA. Mihaly player in both the American Hockey League and the ECHL for most of his career before he choose to return to Europe in 2007. In 2008, Mihaly returned to his native country to play for the local team of HC Miercurea-Ciuc (HC Csíkszereda). He finished his 2018-2019 season as the Captain of RHL ASC Corona Brasov.
Despite being arguably the best Romanian player actually active, Mihály never played for the Romanian National Team. Mihaly has played for the following teams: Sioux City Musketeers (USHL), Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL), New Haven Knights (UHL), Mohawk Valley Prowlers (UHL), Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), Binghamton Senators (AHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) ,Reading Royals (ECHL), Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL), HC Bolzano (Serie A), HC Csíkszereda (HUN-1 and ROM-1).
Coach David Gaughan is a native of McAdoo, Pennsylvania. David is entering his second season with the WBS Jr Knights and brings extensive knowledge to the organization on and off the ice. David grew up playing hockey locally and played at King’s College.
After college, David starting coaching youth hockey around the area focusing on the mite development programs. He has helped mite development with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Jr Penguins, Lehigh Valley Phantoms Youth, and now the WBS Jr Knights. He coached both WBS Jr Knights Peewee and Squirt AYHL teams last year and is now involved with mite development programs as well as the head coach of the WBS Jr Knights travel peewee team.
David started a Hazleton Area Ice Hockey program from the ground up. The program now has a successful middle school, JV and Varsity teams that play in the NEPSHL. Under David’s leadership, the middle school team has won the championship the last two seasons.
David also developed and coaches an Outlaw youth travel roller hockey program. He had teams compete in National Tournaments in Florida, Missouri, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Those teams most recently took GOLD in 12U in Florida and BRONZE in 12U in Missouri this past summer.