Head Coach/Director of Hockey Operations- Scott Cunningham
Scott Cunningham enters his 25th season behind the bench coaching junior hockey.
A two-time National Champion (2010/11 Helena Bighorns, 2018/19 Brooks Bandits) and seven-time Coach of the Year has come back to the Helena Bighorns for the 2022/23 season in the NA3's highly competitive Frontier Division. Cunningham amassed a record of 466-97-6 during his stay in Helena from 2004-2014 which included nine trips to the USA Hockey National Tournament. He followed that up with a record of 291-54-3 in Brooks of the Tier II Alberta Junior Hockey League from 2014-2020 that led the Bandits to three trips to the 132 team CJHL National Championship known as the RBC Cup.
Prior to his 6 seasons with the Brooks Bandits, Coach Cunningham spent 19 seasons coaching in the US, 10 of those with the Helena Bighorns. Over the years he has helped develop over 70 NCAA Division 1 hockey players, multiple NHL drafted players and prospects as well as countless players that moved on to NCAA D-3, USports (Canadian University) and ACHA. Players on that list include Cale Makar (UMass, Hobey Baker winner, drafted 4th overall by the Colorado Avalanche), Jeff Malott (Cornell, Winnipeg Jets), Parker Foo (Union, Chicago Blackhawks), Brandon Scanlin (Nebraska Omaha, NY Rangers), Dennis Cesana (Michigan St., Florida Panthers), Corson Ceulmans (Wisconsin, Columbus Blue Jackets), Pat Dwyer (Western Michigan, Carolina Hurricanes), and Zach Tarkir (Northern Michigan, NJ Devils).
Coach Cunningham's wealth of experience along with his ability to develop players has led him to a philosophy that places physical, mental and skill development and continuing a player's education as the top priority. His belief and commitment to development, discipline and education has led many players to not only successful hockey careers but to be leaders in life, business and beyond. Winning comes in many forms both on and off the ice. The winning numbers, national championships and awards speak for themselves, but the lessons learned from his leadership are the ones that matter most in a player's life whether it be in hockey or beyond, these are the wins that mean the most.
Coach Cunningham resides in Helena with his wife Kerry and sons Nolan (Fairbanks NAHL, Air Force Commit), Camden and Braden.
Associate Head Coach- Damon Hanson
Damon is entering his third season behind the Helena bench as the Bighorns Head Coach. Damon grew up in Seattle Washington playing his youth hockey for the Washington Evergreens. He was a WHL draft pick of the Canadian Hockey Leagues Medicine Hat Tigers. Damon decided to start his 5-year Junior hockey playing career with the Helena Bighorns where he spent three successful seasons. In those three seasons, Damon had a big impact in which the Bighorns won three league titles and made three national appearances. Damon finished his junior career playing two seasons with the Missoula Maulers. As he moved on from playing to coaching, it was only fitting that he began his coaching career where he started playing Junior Hockey, Helena Montana. Damon spent his first two and a half years as an assistant coach and took over the reins as Head Coach in December 2020. Damon and his fiancé Casarah reside in Helena year-round with their two sons, Jaylen and James.
Goalie Coach- Brandon Vonada
Brandon grew up in Helena and started playing hockey soon after the Helena Ice Arena opened in 1994. From the beginning Brandon always wanted to be a goalie and after trying all the positions he settled in as a goalie and has never regretted that decision. Brandon has been coaching for over 15 years at all levels including at the Junior A level. This will be Brandon's 6th season as the Goalie Coach for the Bighorns and he brings an unmatched passion for coaching goaltenders and is a big part of our team. Our goalies are fortunate to have a dedicated goalie coach and especially one that loves being at the rink every day and a coach that works extremely hard to make them better. Whether its video, one on one instruction or just that person to talk with, Brandon is always there for the players. Brandon, his wife Trista and their two children, Lowek and Liviana reside in Helena year-round.
High School Education Coordinator- Paula Holland
Please contact Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org