The 2016-17 season is Ken Gaffney’s eighth season as head coach of the Lawrence Technological University Blue Devils hockey program. Gaffney has transformed the Blue Devil hockey in many ways since his first season back in 2009. Taking it from a club team now to a varsity program that boasts two varsity teams and fifty-six players in the program with more developments to come.
Coach Gaffney is responsible for all aspects of the program including being the head coach for both varsity teams; LTU Blue and LTU White. Main areas of responsibilities include scouting, player acquisition, financial budgets, scheduling, travel, player development, game management, academic oversight, marketing and alumni relations.
In each of his seasons as head coach of the Blue Devils, the program has seen positive advancements. Transforming Hockey from club to varsity, from one team to two teams, and now plans to field a third team soon. The program has also seen an increasing player roster from 24 players to now 56 players and soon to 80 hockey players on campus. On the ice, the program has been ranked top 15 in the ACHA North and top 50 in the Nation (140 teams) for the past five seasons. In the 2015-16 season LTU finished ranked 8th in a tough ACHA North Region and top 20 in the Nation. In 2016 Gaffney helped advance the Blue Devils to their second ever ACHA North Regional playoffs. LTU eventually lost to Aquinas College, the 2016 National Runner Up. The 2015 MCHC playoffs saw Gaffney bring home the first ever playoff win for the Blue Devils in what is considered, by many, the nation’s toughest conference. Whether on ice or off the ice, the Blue Devils program continues to improve.
Gaffney created a Coach’s Association of NAIA Hockey programs to begin the pursuit of hockey under the NAIA. Gaffney, along with five other universities has worked closely with the ACHA leadership to form a new varsity division within the ACHA, called NAIA Division. This small group is the pioneers of what will be a new opportunity in college hockey. This new opportunity is the beginning steps of restoring college hockey under the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). This results in one of the biggest changes in college hockey in over a generation.
Coach Gaffney has been a coach for twenty years. A head coach for eighteen seasons and has coached across the full spectrum of ages and skill levels. Prior to taking the Blue Devil Head Coaching position, Gaffney coached the Motor City Junior Chiefs and prior to that founded the Father Gabriel Richard High School Hockey program. During those many years, Gaffney has also coached nationally regarded Tier I AAA youth programs such as Compuware, Honey Baked and Victory Honda. Winner of many championships, Gaffney still points to his player development and moving players on to their next level as his biggest accomplishments. Gaffney has had the privilege of coaching several players that have advanced high in the hockey ranks; 2 professional, 10 NCAA D-I, 8 to NCAA D-III, 14 USHL, 17 NAHL and dozens to other Junior and ACHA programs.
Gaffney played his Junior hockey for both Paddock Pools Saints and Redford Royals in 1980 and 1981 in the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League (GLJHL) which is now called the NAHL. He completed his playing career at University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-D) from 1981 to 1984. At the time UM-D was an athletic scholarship varsity program under the NAIA. Gaffney made the transition from playing center his whole playing career to defense at UM-D. He was given Honorable Mention at the NAIA National Tournament following a successful freshman season. Battled by a rash of serious injuries, Gaffney’s playing career ended early at UM-D, but his coaching career soon took root.
Gaffney has specific goals for the Blue Devils Hockey program. Make LTU a destination for highly skilled hockey players, compete annually for a National Championships, grow the program to three Men’s varsity teams and One Women’s varsity team, be a model program that LTU and its supporters are proud of, and to foster the University edicts of Enrollment, Retention and Graduation to the highest level. Gaffney is often heard saying, “The only thing better than going to college, is playing hockey for your college… Blue Devil Hockey!”
Gaffney grew up in Inkster Michigan before relocating to Dearborn Heights, MI during his high school years. A graduate of University of Michigan-Dearborn where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. Currently Gaffney resides in Plymouth, MI with his beautiful wife, Maureen, and four children; Lauren, Sean, Connor and Kyle.
Dan was born and raised in Detroit, MI. Growing up with 5 brothers, 4 of them being hockey players, and a Dad who had a fierce love for the game, Dan was on skates just as quickly as he was walking. The family spent a lot of their time at Winter Wonderland, an ice rink on Detroit’s northwest side.
Dan played travel hockey out of Winter Wonderland, as well as Jack Adams Ice Arena, located off of Wyoming Street in northwest Detroit. He was on a number of teams, finishing his travel hockey career playing for Detroit PAL for his bantam and midget years. Dan finished his career after being drafted by Paddock Pools Junior B team.
Dan’s travel hockey career saw him playing for teams such as Adray and Lincoln Metal Hawks before moving on to Detroit PAL for bantams and midgets. He was drafted by the Paddock Pools Junior B team before deciding to end his hockey career to focus on academic interests.
Dan’s coaching career began in 2003 when he became assistant coach for the Canton (MI) High School hockey team. He spent 2 seasons at Canton before stepping down to coach his own son’s hockey team. Dan began coaching in Livonia in 2005, coaching both of his sons, Jack and Matt, on both of their house and travel teams. Along with his time spent at LTU, Dan still coaches his son’s midget team in Livonia (MI).
Dan is currently in his 4th year as an assistant coach with Lawrence Tech. Along with helping coach both of the teams in the program, Dan is the Alumni Liaison, helping to set up all alumni events such as golf outings and alumni games. Dan is also the Educational Liaison for the players, ensuring that the players maintain an appropriate grade point average and helping players with any educational needs that may arise.
Dan has been married for 28 years to his wife, MaryLou. They currently reside in Livonia, MI. They have four children; Jack, Melissa, Matt, and Molly. He has been a middle school teacher at Hilbert Middle School, in Redford, MI, for the past 21 years.
Dane Baruzzini is in his second season as an Assistant Coach for Lawrence Tech Hockey. In his first year, he helped the club to its best year, finishing 9th in the North Region.
During his playing career, Baruzzini served as Captain of the Livonia Knights travel hockey team. He would play the majority of his youth career with the Knights of the Livonia Hockey Association. Dane played varsity hockey for his high school, Livonia Stevenson, during his junior and senior seasons. In Dane’s junior season, Livonia Stevenson had one of their best seasons in school history, winning the city, division, and league championship prior to losing to that season’s State Champion, Detroit Catholic Central in the Regional Final. In his senior season, Dane would receive All-Conference honors and was an honorable mention for the All-State team.
Baruzzini has spent the last 12 years coaching youth hockey in Metro Detroit. Besides coaching LTU, he currently serves as the Head Coach of the Compuware Peewee Minor Tier 2 team out of Plymouth, MI. Dane has led Compuware to a Regional Silver Stick Championship as well as reaching the semi-finals of the International Silver Stick tournament.
In addition to his many years of being a Head Coach, Dane has held the position of “Learn to Play” Director, Director of Coaches, LCAHL (Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League) Division Director, and Director of the Michigan Amateur Youth Hockey League.
Dane currently resides in Farmington Hills, MI, with his wife Samantha and their son Giovanni. Dane and Samantha are expecting a baby girl in April 2017.
Mark grew up with his younger sister in Farmington Hills, MI attending Farmington Public Schools. He started his hockey career at a young age and continues to share his passion for the game today. Mark started playing goalie as a Mite to begin a successful hockey career playing for Lakeland Hockey Association, S.A. Industries, Little Caesars, and Compuware in Southeast Michigan. Mark participated in, and won, various state, national, and international tournaments throughout his youth playing days. His achievements were capped off as he took his hockey talents to Michigan State University.
Mark’s competitive playing days ended in 1986 as a member of the National Champion, Michigan State University Spartans. Mark started coaching hockey in 1990. Since then, he has coached at all levels; learn to skate, house, travel, and high school. During that time Mark’s team won several championships including being in two State Finals. Every year Mark coached, many of his players advanced to their next skill level.
While coaching, Mark joined the board of directors of the largest youth hockey association in Michigan. As a member of this board he was the lead director for their initiation program, secretary, and president. Mark was president for seven years and during that time his leadership maintained their strong tradition but also introduced new programs to provide different opportunity for these players.
When he's not coaching Mark can be found at his day job as a construction senior project manager for one of the 400 largest construction companies in the United States. He has been part of this industry for the past 27 years. Mark received his Bachelor‘s degree from Michigan State University.
Mark has developed skills through his hockey and work careers which will provide added leadership and experience in support of the Blue Devil Hockey Program. Mark will be involved in and responsible for scouting, recruiting, and program operations.
Mark is excited to be a part of the Blue Devil hockey program. The addition of Mark will help continue the momentum LTU Hockey has generated in its pursuit to becoming a premier collegiate hockey programs in the country.
Mark currently resides in Livonia, MI with his wife, Debbie, and his three children: Brandon, Ryan, and Allison.
Ben is a native of Windsor, ON, Canada, born in Leamington, ON and also lived in Montreal, QC, Canada.
Ben was instrumental in Windsor Minor's bid to host the All Ontario Championships in 2002-03. The highlight of his Hockey involvement was in the 2006-07 season when Windsor won the O.M.H.A. (Ontario Minor Hockey Association) Juvenile Championship Title for the first time in over 30 years.
It is through this "forever" link with former Windsor players that came to LTU, Phil Lywood and others, that Ben came to LTU in the hope of helping build an ACHA Championship Team. Since starting with LTU in the 2011-12 season, Ben has focused on team organization, communication, and scouting activities.
Ben has been married to his wife, Sarah, since April 2013. They currently have one daughter, Alia, who is two and a half years old and are expecting their second child in early December 2016. Ben and his family currently reside in Grosse Pointe Park, MI. When Ben is not with his family or with LTU, he works for Ford Motor Company as the Electrical Integration Supervisor on the all-new Lincoln Continental. Ben is also currently working to complete his second year of Ford’s Engineering Management Master’s Program.
Brandon was born and raised in Livonia, MI with his younger brother and sister. He started playing hockey young and after deciding to play goalie as a Squirt, he has never looked back. While manning the pipes for many teams in the Livonia Hockey Association, he won multiple championships as well as making multiple State Playoff runs with a State Finals appearance capping off his achievements.
Upon graduating high school, Brandon accepted an offer to continue his hockey career at Lawrence Technological University after being accepted to the school’s prestigious Architecture program. He played for the Blue Devils for five years, using all of his available eligibility. Four and a half of those years were spent working to receive his Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree while his final season on the ice was spent starting his Master of Architecture degree. The combination of Brandon’s efforts on the ice and in the classroom led him to be a two-time ACHA Academic All-American as well as a three-time recipient of the Loyalty and Perseverance Award. Brandon was also the first captain of LTU’s White Team during their inaugural season as well as being awarded with the True Blue Award after his final season on the ice.
Brandon currently works for the team as a Graduate Assistant doing a multitude of different tasks for the team. His biggest tasks this season is to lead the program’s promotion efforts along with managing social media content. Brandon has a partial role with game-day operations when LTU is at home and assists other staff members where needed as well as taking part in score and stat entry/reporting. Brandon considers himself the team’s utility man, doing whatever is asked of him. White forward David Gasior (#22) was quoted saying, “[the players] do 90% of the work, mostly on the ice, and [Brandon] Paulus is the other 10%. He makes us all look good.” Brandon is also responsible for organizing events such as the first ever LTU Pink-Out, which helps to raise money to benefit breast cancer research, and Greek Night at LTU Hockey, which aims to recognize the flourishing Greek life that LTU has to offer. Both events will now occur annually.
When Brandon is not doing work for the team or tearing up the adult leagues with other LTU Hockey alumni, he can be found in the classroom or at his other job. To be a Graduate Assistant, one must be in a graduate program at LTU. Brandon’s program of choice is LTU’s accredited Master of Architecture program. Brandon also works part time at an architecture firm in addition to his obligations to LTU Hockey and his graduate studies.
Brandon currently resides in Livonia, MI with his parents, Mark and Debbie, and his younger brother and sister, Ryan and Allison.