OUR TEAM

Seattle Pride Hockey Association is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Seattle, Washington. 

The board of directors is comprised of the executive branch – consisting of a President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and eventually, a Membership Director, as well as a team of support staff. The board of directors are responsible for the overall day to day operations of the organization, including government affairs, finances, taxes, logistics & operations.

This team backed by an incredible group of support staff and seasonal volunteers that range in experience from events and sports management, media and production, game operations, advertising & marketing, and social media, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion. These support staff & volunteers support the board of directors in a variety of projects supporting our events, programs & tournaments.

We are always seeking diverse voices. If you are interested in joining us in our mission of making hockey a more diverse and equitable sport, consider volunteering with us. You can also email our board of directors at [email protected].

board of directors

STEVEN THOMPSON

President + Co-Treasurer

   

Steven has enjoyed hockey ever since he was a little kid. From as far back as he can remember, he would attend Seattle Thunderbirds games with his dad back in the Seattle Center/Key Arena days.

It wasn’t until the 2015-16 WHL regular season that his passion for hockey intensified.  Steven followed former Thunderbirds player, Mathew Barzal, after his debut, and after the Thunderbirds won the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2017 Steven decided to become a hockey player himself. In November 2017, Steven hired former University of Wisconsin forward, Molly Doner, to teach him how to ice skate and be a hockey player. Molly has played with players who have competed in the US Olympics so she was the perfect coach! It was from this that propelled Steven’s passion for the game.

By December 2017, Steven started playing in the former Greater Seattle Hockey League (now Kraken Hockey League) starting with the Letterkenny Irish and soon after, the Trash Pandas. Steven grew his Trash Pandas team from one team to three in a matter of two months, and he added a fourth team to the franchise in Summer 2021.

Steven became deeply involved in league operations and it became clear that he would be a valuable asset to add to the league as a full-time employee. In March 2019, Steven was hired to be director of league operations for the former Greater Seattle Hockey League where he helped grow the league by adding several dozen new teams, hundreds of new players, and curating several new programs, including Sprinker Draft League and a November tournament in the annual The Great Puckaroo Roundup.

In April 2019, Steven — together with teammate Joey Gale — founded the Seattle Pride Hockey Association to bring hockey closer to underrepresented communities. You can read even more about Steven in this article on NHL.com.

JOSEPH GALE

Vice President

   

Pronouns: He/Him/His

At the age of three, Joey first laced up his skates (well, his dad did) and stepped onto the pond for the first time. Joey grew up playing league hockey in Minnesota, the self-proclaimed “State of Hockey”, and played up until high school. While he still found his way to the pond, Joey didn’t jump back into organized hockey until 2015, following his graduation from Drake University. After making a trek from Des Moines, IA, to Seattle with his partner, Joey began playing in the Greater Seattle Hockey League (now Kraken Hockey League) in 2018.

In 2019, Joey connected with Steven on the idea that Seattle needed an organization to represent queer and diverse players in the PNW. As the Kraken made headway growing the sport in the area, they found a need to share the sport with LGBTQ people as well – so the SPHA was born. When Joey is off the ice, he works at an ad agency in downtown Seattle as an account executive. Joey’s most recent work in the LGBTQ space includes development of the Pride Brand Guide to help companies and brands navigate advertising during Pride month, as well as writing a chapter in the 2021 book called Everyday Hockey Heroes.

STEVEN LAING

Secretary

   

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Steven is a Seattle based content producer with a passion for the game of hockey. When he’s not on the ice, he spends his time with his family, his husky Luna, making music with his friends, and on the golf course.

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Steven’s love for hockey began during childhood; wearing Red Wings jerseys to school during playoffs, going downtown to see games at Joe Louis Arena, and playing in youth leagues. After college he started his producing career in New York.  His work has been featured in off-broadway productions, Indie film circuits, and live TV broadcasts.

Hockey is the greatest game on earth, and it has always been a game of honor and accountability. But it also comes with a history of inequality, silence, and privilege. Steven is honored to be a member of the SPHA, to promote inclusion of all people who love the game; regardless of race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We must keep even the things we love most accountable, to create change and equal opportunity for all.

Photo of Joel Hennig

JOEL HENNIG

Co-Treasurer

   

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Coming soon…

COMING SOON

Membership Director

   

Coming soon…

Operations Support

Seattle Pride Hockey Association is split into two operating divisions that collectively develop and operate our events, programs, league, and tournaments to the community. Each operating division is led by a Managing Director who oversees all functions of their respective division.

EVENTS & PROGRAMS

MICHELLE MENDEZ

Managing Director, Events & Programs

League & Tournaments

STEVEN THOMPSON

Managing Director, League & Tournaments

Broader Support Staff

RANDY COTÈ

Director, Game experience

Email Me: [email protected]

About Me: Randy Coté grew up in Snohomish County surrounded by hockey. He and his siblings played in the Seattle Junior Hockey Association as kids, his dad was a volunteer coach, and they were all supported by the world’s greatest hockey mom. With the exception of a few pick-up games over the years, he picked up organized hockey again after a 20-year hiatus back in 2017. Read more… 

alexis haire

Director, Communications & Website Maintenance

Email Me: [email protected]

About Me: Alexis originates from the Bay Area, California, where she learned to play hockey in college (Go Sharks!). She moved to Seattle in 2015, and quickly joined the local women’s hockey community. She served as President of the Seattle Women’s Hockey Club for 3 years, before volunteering to help with the SPHA. Read more… 

Photo of Gilbert Villalpando

gilbert villalpando

Director, diversity & inclusion

Email Me: [email protected]

About Me: Gilbert learned to play hockey as an adult after moving to Wisconsin for his university studies. He took a chance on a newly formed developmental hockey league called Madison Gay Hockey Association (MGHA) and enjoyed the people and learning hockey so much that he has been playing hockey ever since. Read more… 

gavin parker

Director, tournament productions

Email Me: [email protected]

About Me: Gavin grew up in the DC area running around local hockey rinks and attending Capitals (Rock the Red!) games since he can remember. His dad played for a prep school in New England and then recreationally until they moved to the Seattle area in 2013, and it wasn’t until Gavin went to the University of Connecticut in 2017 that he found hockey again. Read more… 

BRETT LEONARD

Director, Hospitality Operations

Email Me: [email protected]

About Me: Brett oversees every facet of participant hospitality requirements, encompassing lodging, transportation, communications and the overall guest experience. This includes managing the Icebreaker Welcome Reception, tournament registration, various participant and volunteer hospitality desks, as well as the Tournament Operations Command Center.

MANAGE ALL YOUR HOCKEY IN ONE PLACE

Go directly to mySPHA: my.seattlepridehockey.org