Hockey Operations Department
Jason Karmanos - General Manager
The Buffalo Sabres named Jason Karmanos as the team’s associate general manager on April 14, 2021.
In his new role, Karmanos will serve as the general manager of the AHL's Rochester Americans and will oversee the Sabres' scouting, player development and analytics departments.
A native of Orchard Lake, Michigan, Karmanos spent the past six seasons (2014-20) with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he served as the assistant general manager for three seasons. He was the club's vice president of hockey operations prior to that.
In his roles with Pittsburgh, Karmanos spearheaded the revamping of the Penguins' use of hockey analytics to assist management in their decision-making process.
He was also a member of the Carolina Hurricanes' front office from 1998-2013 and served as an assistant general manager for 13 of those seasons.
Karmanos, 46, has been part of three Stanley Cup championships. He won with Carolina in 2006 and with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017.
Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams was an alternate captain on the 2005-06 Hurricanes. Adams and Karmanos were also teammates on the United States' 1994 World Junior Championship team.
Before becoming a hockey executive, Karmanos played four seasons at Harvard, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors. He played one season for the Raleigh Ice Caps of the ECHL in 1996-97, but an eye injury ended his playing career.
Seth Appert - Head Coach
Seth Appert enters his first season as head coach of the Rochester Americans in 2020-21 after being named to the position on August 18, 2020.
The 33rd head coach in the 64-year history of the franchise, Appert has a long history of developing players at all levels. He has spent the last three years alternating the head coaching duties between the Under-18 and Under-17 teams at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP).
With the NTDP, Appert oversaw a development model that produced an NHL-record 17 draft picks in the 2019 NHL Draft, including eight that were selected in the first round. Among those included the highly touted forward Jack Hughes, who was chosen first overall by the New Jersey Devils.
During his first season with the NTDP in 2017-18, Appert guided the Under-18 Team to a gold medal at the Five Nations Tournament while also helping Team USA to an Eastern Conference-best 41-18-0-1 record during the regular season, the team’s best finish since joining the United States Hockey League prior to the 2009-10 campaign. Team USA, which featured incoming defenseman and former Buffalo Sabres’ second-round pick Mattias Samuelsson, led the USHL in wins (41) and tied for second in overall points (83) behind only the Waterloo Black Hawks.
In 2018, Appert led the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team to a silver medal at the IIHF Under-18 World Junior Championship and gold at the same tournament the year before as an assistant coach in 2017. His international resume also includes back-to-back years as an assistant coach with the U.S. National Team, winning a bronze medal at the Men’s World Championship in 2018.
Prior to joining USA Hockey, the Cottage Grove, Minn., native spent 20 years in the NCAA Division I collegiate coaching ranks, including 11 seasons as head coach of the men’s program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The Engineers advanced to the postseason each year under Appert, who guided the team to an appearance in the 2011 NCAA Tournament following a 20-win season before leading RPI to its best finish in more than two decades just two years later with a second-place finish in the ECAC standings to conclude the 2012-13 campaign.
The first two seasons of Appert’s tenure at RPI were highlighted by back-to-back titles in the Governor’s Cup Tournament – the program’s first titles of any kind since 1998 – in addition to earning points against six nationally-ranked opponents.
He departed RPI following the 2016-17 season with a 152-221-48 regular-season record.
Appert, who formerly served as president of the American Hockey Coaches Association, also spent nine seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Denver, where he helped the Pioneers to a pair of NCAA National Championships as well as three WCHA playoff championships and two WCHA regular-season titles. The Pioneers also averaged more than 23 wins per season with Appert behind the bench.
Over his 20 years at the collegiate level, Appert has aided in the development of 13 All-Americans, 37 all-league selections, four Players of the Year, four Hobey Baker Finalists and at least 23 players who have graduated to the NHL, including former Amerks Jerry D’Amigo, Jason Kasdorf and Erik Burgdoerfer.
D’Amigo played one season under Appert at RPI in 2009-10, ranking fifth in the nation in points per game while leading the team in game-winning goals. In his lone season at RPI, D’Amigo was named the ECAC Rookie of the Year and was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team. Kasdorf, meanwhile, played four years under Appert at RPI, earning ECAC Rookie of the Year and All-ECAC Second Team honors as a freshman during the 2012-13 season. Both he and Burgdoerfer would make their NHL debuts with the Buffalo Sabres.
Appert is a product of the NCAA himself, having been a four-year letter-winner as a goaltender at Ferris State University from 1992-96.
He owns a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Ferris State and earned his master’s degree in management from the University of Denver in 1999.
Appert and his wife, Jill, have two daughters, Addi and Campbell.
Michael Peca - Assistant Coach
Michael Peca enters his first season as an assistant coach with the Rochester Americans after being named to the position on August 3, 2021.
Peca spent the 2020-21 season as a player development coach with the Washington Capitals, working primarily with the players on the taxi squad.
Prior to joining Washington, Peca served as general manager and director of hockey operations for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the Ontario Junior Hockey League for five years following two seasons as the team’s head coach from 2012-2014. He posted a 69-28-11 combined record in 108 games, leading Buffalo to back-to-back West Division titles and consecutive playoff appearances while also earning OJHL Coach of the Year honors for the 2012-13 season.
As a player, Peca’s professional playing career spanned 14 seasons and 864 games in the National Hockey League with the Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets. A four-time 20-goal scorer, he recorded 465 points (176+289) and added 34 points (15+19) in 97 playoff contests while twice guiding his team to the Stanley Cup Final, including in 1999 as captain of the Sabres.
The Toronto, Ontario, native is also a two-time winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy, given annually “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” He was first awarded the honor following the 1996-97 season, becoming the first Sabres forward since Craig Ramsay in 1984-85 to win the award. He was the recipient again just five years later in 2001-02 as a member of the Islanders.
Originally a second-round selection (40th overall) of the Vancouver Canucks in the 1992 NHL Draft, Peca spent the majority of his 14-year career with the Sabres, during which he scored 96 goals and notched 121 assists for 217 points over 363 games from 1995-2000. His tenure in Buffalo was highlighted by three 20-goal seasons, including a career-best 27-goal campaign in 1998-99, and four straight playoff appearances between 1997-2000.
He made a return visit to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006 with Edmonton before retiring following the 2008-09 season.
Peca also played parts of two seasons (1992-93, 1994-95) in the American Hockey League with the Hamilton Canucks and Syracuse Crunch, totaling 43 points (16+27) in 44 games.
Internationally, Peca is a two-time gold medal-winner with Team Canada. After leading the Canadians to gold at the 1994 IIHF World Junior Championship, he won his second gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. He also represented Canada at the 2001 IIHF World Championship, serving as team captain.
Mike Weber - Assistant Coach
Mike Weber enters his first season as an assistant coach with the Rochester Americans in 2020-21 after being named to the position on September 17, 2020.
Weber embarks on his pro coaching career after spending the previous three years as an assistant coach with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. This past season, Weber guided the Spitfires to a third-place finish in the OHL’s West Division with a 34-20-8-0 overall record and what would have been their fifth straight playoff appearance prior to the cancellation of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A native of Pittsburgh, Penn., Weber transitioned into coaching with Windsor midway through the 2017-18 season following an 11-year playing career as a defenseman. A second-round pick (57th overall) of the Sabres in 2006, Weber recorded 53 points (9+44) and 437 penalty minutes while playing all but 10 of his 351 NHL games for Buffalo prior to a brief stint with the Washington Capitals.
Weber also totaled 51 points (8+43) in 237 career AHL games, most recently serving as team captain of the Iowa Wild in 2016-17. He made his pro debut with the Amerks in 2007-08, his lone season in Rochester, and would spend a majority of the following two seasons with the Portland Pirates, leading the team to a playoff appearance in 2010 after a career-high 21 points during the regular season.
He was rewarded with a trip to the AHL All-Star Classic in 2010 before going to spend the next six full seasons in the NHL.
He and his wife, Janine, are the parents to three sons: Emerson (7), JJ (4) and Harrison (2).
Kris Young - Video Coach and Team Services
Kris Young enters his second season as Video Coach and Team Services with the Rochester Americans in 2020-21. In his role, Young oversees all aspects of team travel and video operations.
Young joined the Amerks in 2019-20 after spending the previous three years as the video coach for the Ottawa Senators (NHL), which followed one season with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the Ontario Hockey League.
A native of South Porcupine, Ontario, Young has represented Canada at numerous international events, most recently winning gold as Team Canada’s video coach at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Young was also the recipient of a silver medal at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Ottawa before adding his second gold medal that same year while serving on Team Canada’s staff at the U18 Women’s World Championship in Finland.
Additionally, he previously served as the video coach for Hockey Canada’s Women’s National Team in 2011.
Before working with Hockey Canada, Young was the video coach for the American Hockey League’s version of the Bulldogs from 2006 to 2010, helping Hamilton win the Calder Cup in 2007.
He and his wife, Sonia, have two sons, Oliver (16) and Braydon (11),
Seamus Kotyk - Goaltending Development Coach
Seamus Kotyk enters his fourth season as the Goaltending Development Coach for the Buffalo Sabres organization in 2020-21. In his role, Kotyk is responsible for overseeing the development of all the organization’s goaltenders, including Buffalo’s minor league affiliates with the AHL’s Rochester Americans and ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones.
Kotyk has been instrumental in the development of some of the Sabres’ top goaltending prospects, including 2020 AHL All-Star and reigning Amerks MVP Jonas Johansson, who spent his first full season in Rochester in 2019-20. Johansson, Buffalo’s third-round pick in 2014, finished the season ranked among the AHL’s top five goaltenders in goals-against average and save percentage while also making his long-awaited NHL debut with the Sabres. Johansson became the fourth different Amerks netminder in the last five years to make his NHL debut for Buffalo, joining fellow Swede Linus Ullmark, Adam Wilcox and Jason Kasdorf, the latter of whom played for current Amerks head coach Seth Appert at RPI.
Kotyk joined the Sabres following four seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. He joined the organization in 2010 as a goaltending coach before being elevated to assistant coach the following year. He remained in that capacity until 2014 when he transitioned to the Sabres as a scout before assuming his current role.
A native of London, Ontario, Kotyk played four seasons in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s, posting a 79-37-5 record with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He was a member of the 1999 Memorial Cup-winning squad and played for the 67’s in the 2001 Memorial Cup.
Originally a fifth-round pick (147th overall) of the Boston Bruins in the 1999 NHL Draft, Kotyk enjoyed an eight-year playing career that included stops in the AHL, UHL and ECHL before playing his final three seasons overseas. He boasted a 58-66-10 career record with a 3.10 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage during his time in North America, most of which was spent in the AHL with the Cleveland Barons, Milwaukee Admirals and Houston Aeros.
Koytk split the 2004-05 season with the Admirals and the Rockford IceHogs of the UHL. While with the Admirals, Kotyk scored an empty-net goal against the San Antonio Rampage on April 17, 2005, becoming the eighth goaltender in AHL history to score a goal.
Andrew Stegehuis - Head Equipment Manager
Andrew Stegehuis enters his third season as the Head Equipment Manager for the Rochester Americans in 2020-21.
Stegehuis joined the Amerks after previously serving as the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) assistant equipment manager from 2012 until 2018, helping the Griffins claim both of their Calder Cup championships in 2012-13 and 2016-17. The Grandville, Mich., native began his tenure with Grand Rapids as a locker room attendant from 2004 to 2011.
Stegehuis joined the Griffins full-time after spending the 2011-12 season as the equipment manager for the USHL’s Chicago Steel.
Carl Hirner - Assistant Equipment Manager
Carl Hirner begins his fourth season as an Equipment Assistant with the Rochester Americans in 2020-21.
Hirner is responsible for assisting in the day-to-day care of the team’s equipment needs and preparing the visiting locker room on game-days.
In addition to his position with the Amerks, Hirner is also a full-time student at The College at Brockport, where he is pursuing a degree in Sports Management and a minor in Business.
Jack Heyman - Equipment Assistant
The 2020-21 campaign marks Jack Heyman’s 24th season as an Equipment Assistant with the Rochester Americans. During his tenure with the Amerks, the Rochester native has witnessed three ownership changes and has had the privilege of working with nine different head coaches over the years.
Heyman first arrived at The Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial as an usher in 1971, but it wasn’t long before he moved into his new role in 1996 when then Amerks equipment manager Pete Rogers took him under his wing as his assistant. It’s a position he’s held ever since.
As a volunteer, Heyman is responsible for providing assistance in the day-to-day care of the team’s equipment needs, preparing the locker room on game days, fulfilling the needs of on-ice officials and providing guidance and instruction to the game-night equipment staff.
Hockey Performance Department
Michael Dhesse - Head Athletic Trainer
Michael Dhesse enters his second season as Head Athletic Trainer of the Rochester Americans in 2020-21.
Dhesse joins the Amerks after spending five years as the assistant athletic trainer at the University of Alaska Anchorage (NCAA), where he was the primary athletic trainer for hockey with the Seawolves. He was also the Medical Coordinator for the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon & Half Marathon, the largest marathon in the state of Alaska.
While in Alaska, he was active in the Alaska Athletic Trainers’ Association, serving as their public relations chairman and sitting on the Governmental Affairs Committee.
Dhesse, a Peru, Illinois native, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training at Northern Illinois University (NCAA). While with the Huskies, he was an athletic training student covering football for two and a half years, which included a Mid-American Conference Championship game and the Orange Bowl and Poinsettia Bowl. In addition to his athletic training duties, Dhesse conducted research for the creation and implementation of emergency action plans in the secondary school setting on a national level and was awarded first place at the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association meeting in 2014 and was presented at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Symposium that same year.
In his final semester of school, Dhesse interned with the University of Washington’s football team, and prior to leaving NIU, was awarded the American Kinesiology Award.
Dhesse is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers’ Society.
He currently resides in Rochester with his wife, Danielle, two dogs, Raisin and Annabelle, as well as their other various rescued animals.
Kent Weisbeck - Assistant Athletic Trainer
Kent Weisbeck enters his 36th season as an Athletic Trainer for the Rochester Americans. In the past 35 years, Weisbeck has worked more than 2,500 games, earned two Calder Cup rings (1987 and 1996) and has worked in the Calder Cup Finals on five other occasions.
On March 10, 2019, Weisbeck worked his remarkable 2,500th game with Amerks. Prior to the game against Binghamton, the organization honored him with a plaque and custom jersey commemorating his career milestone.
During the 2016 offseason, the longtime member of the Amerks organization was honored by the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society/Society of Professional Hockey Equipment Managers (PHATS/SPHEM) with the Career Achievement Alumni Award in recognition of his dedication and excellence in his field. In August of 2016, Weisbeck was inducted into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame as a member of the Class of 2016. Since 1997, a special section at the center of Frontier Field's Walk of Fame has been designated to Rochester's sports legends. These individuals (fans, players, management and media spanning Rochester's sports history) are those who have made a monumental impact on the community through their achievements in the Rochester-area sports scene.
During the 2009-10 season, his 25th consecutive year of service to the organization, “Snacky” became the first-ever athletic trainer in the 64-year history of the franchise to be inducted into the Amerks Hall of Fame. He was honored as the 48th member of the prestigious club, joining former Amerks head coach Randy Cunneyworth and Jim Wiemer as part of the Class of 2010.
Weisbeck worked one day in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, but the rest of his hours, days and years have been in Rochester. On October 23, 2010, Weisbeck reached a professional milestone working in his 2,000th game. The team honored him on November 7, 2010 with a plaque and fitted him with the first Blue Jacket, an honor bestowed to Weisbeck by then team owner Curt Styres as a testament to his personal milestone.
Weisbeck has twice had the distinction of serving as a trainer at the AHL All-Star Classic. His first time on the bench came during the 2000 All-Star Classic hosted in Rochester at The Blue Cross Arena. He was also selected as head athletic trainer for the Western Conference All-Star team for the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic in Hershey. He was selected by the American Hockey League based upon his many years of excellence and dedicated service to the AHL and the City of Rochester.
The Buffalo, NY, native graduated from the University at Buffalo in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education with a minor in athletic training. After graduating from UB, he stayed at the university to work as an assistant athletic trainer from 1977-1985. In 1985, he made the jump to the AHL and the Amerks.
Kent and his wife, Colleen, reside in Rochester with their two sons: Cameron (27) and Hunter (11).
Kedryn Orrison Pilgrim - Assistant Athletic Trainer
Kedryn Orrison Pilgrim enters her first season as an Assistant Athletic Trainer with the Rochester Americans in 2021-22.
Orrison Pilgrim joins the Amerks following two years as an assistant athletic trainer at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC), where she worked primarily with the women's volleyball, men's ice hockey and softball programs.
Prior to UWEC, she served as the head athletic trainer with the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) for two seasons (2017-2019). She was also a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Minnesota State University – Mankato in 2016-17 and was an intern athletic trainer before that with UWEC during the 2015-16 season.
Orrison Pilgrim completed her education at North Central College in Illinois, earning a Bachelor of Arts in both Athletic Training and Psychology, as well as completing the College Scholars Honors Program. While at North Central College, she was a member of the women’s collegiate volleyball team for four years and a thrower for the women’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams for a year.
She went on to obtain her Master of Arts in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Minnesota State University – Mankato and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Athletic Training (DAT) from Moravian University.
Orrison Pilgrim is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers’ Society (PHATS). She maintains both the Certified Strength and Condition Specialist (CSCS) certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the Sports Manual Therapy Certification (SMTC) through the Institute for Athlete Regeneration (IAR). In addition, she has specialized certifications in Graston Technique, Reflex Performance Reset (RPR) and cupping.
She resides in Rochester with her husband, Jordan, and their dog, Oban.
Nick Craven - Strength and Conditioning Coach
Nick Craven enters his fourth season as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Rochester Americans in 2020-21.
Prior to joining the Amerks, Craven was a member of the Olympic Strength and Conditioning department at the University of Georgia. Craven has also completed strength and conditioning internships with New Mexico State University and Colorado State University.
After four years of collegiate hockey, Craven played professionally for two years with stops in Binghamton (AHL), Colorado (ECHL) and Fayetteville (SPHL).
Craven graduated from Wesleyan University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience. He received his M.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Georgia in 2017 and holds certifications through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa).
Christine Dziedzic - Sports Dietician
Dr. Geoffrey Bernas, M.D. - Head Team Physician, Orthopedics
Dr. Michael Freitas, M.D. - Team Physician, Primary Care Sports Medicine
Dr. Michael Rauh, M.D. - Team Physician, Orthopedics
Dr. Brandon Brownell, M.D. - Team Physician, Primary Care Sports Medicine
Dr. Brandon Brownell, M.D., is a Western New York native who graduated from Ross University School of Medicine and earned his Master of Science degree at Canisius College, specializing in Health and Human Performance.
He completed his residency with the University at Buffalo in the Department of Family Medicine before specializing in sports medicine. With his background in family and sports medicine, Dr. Brownell has a passion to return patients of all ages back to their active lifestyles. He has a focus in ultrasound guided musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment.
He currently serves as the team physician for the UB Bulls Division I Men’s and Women’s basketball teams as well as the Rochester Americans, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.
Dr. Ned Nicosia, D.D.S. - Team Dentist
Dr. Donald Dudley, D.C. - Team Chiropractor
Dr. Robert Bronstein, M.D. - Medical Consultant, Orthopedics