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Our Board

The St. Louis Youth Hockey Foundation has a dedicated board of directors who believe in the values and life lessons that youth hockey teaches young people. Our board members are all volunteers who come from a variety of backgrounds, but they are all united by their love of hockey and their commitment to helping young people succeed.

They are dedicated to the foundation’s mission of providing financial assistance to young hockey players in need, and promoting the growth of youth hockey in St. Louis.

Dan Heffington

(A.K.A. Coach Heff) Co-founder St. Louis Youth Hockey Organization

USMC Officer/ Naval aviator – 10 years

Delta Airlines International Captain – 31 years

Co-founder Challenger Baseball. A baseball league for people with disabilities.

Desmet High School Hockey coach all levels – 20 years.

Started the Baseman charity while at Desmet which became the St. Louis Youth Hockey Foundation. Coached hockey with other programs including Rockets, Chesterfield, Central States, AAA, from pee wee to 16’s. Currently coach at St. Dominic’s High School.

Kristin Heffington

Retired leader in performance management and leadership development at Edward Jones. President and co-founder of St. Louis Youth Hockey Foundation. Mother of two competitive athletes (AAA Blues Hockey and AAU/JVA volleyball) with a passion to see all kids have the opportunity to be part of something greater through team sports.

Dean Penberthy 

High School teacher at Pacific High School, Head Varsity hockey Coach for Westminster Christian Academy.  I have been involved with youth sports for approximately thirty years as either a coach and/or parent.  I enjoy and love seeing young people get the opportunity to do what they love, compete, learn many life lessons, and create memories and friends to last a lifetime.  

Brandi Buzzetta

Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships- EmVenio Research. Mother of a AAA St. Louis hockey player. Incredibly supportive of the mission of STLYHF while providing possibilities and lifting hardships for area hockey families and players.

Jim Schweppe

President and CEO of Elite Cuisine, a St. Louis based corporate dining company. Also, Partner of Community Managers Associates, CMA, a St. Louis based property management company.

Jim became interested in St. Louis youth hockey while paying for his son’s hockey and realizing the incredible expenses associated with playing hockey and witnessing the hardship the costs have on families.

Paul Heine

St. Louis Youth Hockey Foundation Treasurer. Senior Financial Analyst at U.S. Bank, specializing in Capital Expenditure Projects and Financial Reporting.

Bill Braun

Retired marketing executive from Anheuser-Busch Inc. Former head coach Creve Coeur Hockey and Chesterfield Hockey Associations. Former President, Parkway West Hockey Club.

Charlie Hodges

Senior level marketing professional, spending the majority of his 25+ year career in Anheuser-Busch’s marketing department in brand management, sports marketing, and Bud Sports TV production group. Managed A-B’s Olympic sponsorships from 1994-2003, in addition to the company’s NFL, NHL, MLB, NHRA, and other programs. Began career with the St. Louis Blues Hockey Club, as its Assistant Director of Public Relations.

Mark Arens

I grew up playing youth hockey at Creve Coeur and played high school hockey at Parkway North. I began coaching youth hockey for the St. Peters organization around 2005 and continued through 2017 with a short stint with the St. Louis Rockets. In 2021,

I transitioned to the high school level and helped build a foundation for the St. Dominic Ice Hockey Program, where I currently coach with Coach Heff. I have a strong passion for the greatest game on earth and want to pass down not only what I have learned on the ice but the many life lessons that can be taught through the game. I got involved with STLYHF to be an instrument to allow youth players and families involved in the game despite the financial burdens that come along with it.

Michelle Arens 

Hairstylist. Teacher Aide at Immaculate Conception of Dardenne and Theater Stage Manager and Set Designer at Immaculate Conception of Dardenne.

I was introduced to the sport in my twenties when I married my husband who played. I have loved this sport and became a hockey mom while watching my son play youth hockey at St Peters and Chesterfield, High School hockey at DeSmet and College ACHA D2 hockey at Xavier University. I hope to grow the game by helping families in need support their players through STLYHF.

Dan Gregory

Small business owner with experience managing people, processes, technology, and players.  As a youth, Dan played hockey and frequently volunteered at organizations throughout the community.  As society faces ever-increasing costs of life, he wants to try and help people overcome the obstacle of funding our youth's desires and dreams to play hockey, while simultaneously trying to make ends meet.


Our Board Members work tirelessly to develop all the events that support this important mission. You will see them at all the events as they ensure the support for the STL Youth Hockey Foundation continues to grow,

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