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Muskegon Lumberjacks Partner with Belfry Hockey

By Mike Sontag, 08/18/21, 2:30PM EDT

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MUSKEGON, MI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks have entered a partnership with Darryl Belfry and Belfry Hockey, a skills-based training organization specializing in research-based player development.

Belfry works for the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) as a Player Development Consultant. Darryl is known for leading the path in player development with some of today’s top NHL stars including four of the five top NHL goal scorers in the last decade. Some of the top stars he has instructed include Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings), Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche), Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers), Lars Eller (Washington Capitals), and Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs).

While Belfry spends much of his time training and analyzing NHL players, he has a proven track record of success in the USHL. Belfry spent the past four seasons working with the Chicago Steel.  Under Belfry’s tutelage, Chicago has seen 22 of their players drafted to the NHL while simultaneously earning the best record in the league twice during his tenure, including two Anderson Cups and a Clark Cup Championship. 

Belfry brings a unique perspective of the game to Muskegon, offering a powerful curriculum which identifies strategic advantages that other players are missing. Belfry is often able to identify the smallest of adjustments which could make a huge impact in a player’s game. The system focuses on discovering authentic identity, pinpointing translatable skills, and building a personal performance matrix. “When I first start with a player, they’re teaching me the whole time, and all I’m doing is finding areas of opportunity inside of what they’re doing,” Belfry said in an interview with Hockey Night in Canada. “I’m trying to figure out what makes this guy this guy, and my job is to plug in the skill that is missing.”

In addition to on-ice instruction with players, Belfry and his staff will work extensively with Lumberjacks coaching staff to focus on individual player development and skill-based practices. “Darryl Belfry is the premier developmental coach in the sport of hockey,” said Head Coach Mike Hamilton. “We look forward to collaborating and applying his knowledge to push our organization to the next level”. 

Winning a Clark Cup for both players and fans along with player development has always been the goal of the Lumberjacks organization. This addition is another example of Muskegon ownership committing to the above goals, making the Lumberjacks the best Junior organization in the world. "It's amazing to me the impact that Bob Kaiser and Dan Israel want to leave in the hockey world on the development of players and coaches. It leaves one speechless, the steps they are willing to take,” said Steve Lowe, President of Hockey Operations. “To our players, fans and coaching staff, there is not a lot to say except we can't wait to get going with Darryl as he is going to push every aspect of our program to be elite”. Muskegon has more exciting news to share in the upcoming days.

The Lumberjacks are gearing up for their 2021-22 season, starting the regular season on the road with the DICK’S Sporting Goods Fall Classic in Pittsburgh on September 25. The Lumberjacks home opener is October 15, taking on the Chicago Steel.  Season tickets for the 2021-22 season are now on sale. For more information, please call the Muskegon Lumberjacks Business Office at (231) 799-7000 or email afranczek@muskegonlumberjacks.com.