Ryan Taylor

Founder / Director Player Development and Hockey Operations

Ryan Taylor is one of the most widely respected coaches in the hockey community with over 20 years of experience in developing players of all ages from all over North America.

Currently, Ryan Taylor is the General Manager of Hockey Operations at the Falcons Hockey Program in Highland Park, Illinois. Taylor also head coaches the Squirt Central States team which recently finished 3rd Nationally on My Hockey Rankings. In 2019, Ryan Taylor was awarded Illinois Youth Hockey Coach of the Year by AHAI.

Prior to joining the Falcons and starting up NSHDA, Ryan Taylor was the Hockey Director/Coach of Chicago Young Americans for seven years. From there, he went on to become Director of Bauer Selects and Assistant Hockey Director/Coach at Chicago Mission for four years.

Originally from Burlington, Ontario, Canada, Ryan grew up playing for the Burlington City Reps, AAA Hockey Organization. After Bantam Major, Ryan made the jump to the Ontario Juniors Hockey League (OJHL) where he played for the Burlington Cougars for two seasons. Ryan played his collegiate hockey at Lake Forest College in Illinois and was coached by Tony Fritz. He shined and was named Captain for two years and earned the “Peter G. Taylor Award” in 1997-98. This award is for the most outstanding talent, leadership and love for the game to which best exemplifies the qualities of the player for whom it is named. Ryan currently lives in Lake Forest, IL, is happily married to his wife Kimmy, and have five beautiful young children that all love and play hockey.

Brett Lebda

Director of NSHDA Defense Academy and Player Development Coach

Brett Lebda is currently a Coach for the Falcons CSHDL organization.

Brett Lebda is from Buffalo Grove, IL and grew up playing hockey in the Chicagoland area. He was selected to play for the United States National Development Program in 1998 where he played for two years. From there he attended and played for the Fighting Irish at the University of Notre Dame from 2000-2004. After helping the Irish make the NCAA tournament in 2004 for the first time in the modern era he was signed by the Detroit Red Wings as an undrafted free agent. He played his first NHL game at the start of the 2005-2006 season. A veteran of 398 NHL games he saw stints with the Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Columbus Blue Jackets and won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008.

Brett now resides in Wonder Lake, IL and is the Defensive Hockey Director for the Falcons Hockey Association

Tony Gill

Director of NSHDA Summer Main Camp and Player Development Coach

Tony Gill is currently a Coach for the Falcons CSHDL organization.

Tony has been with the Falcons in Highland Park since 2011, before that he coached for the Chicago Young American’s and Team Illinois’s AAA hockey organizations. Tony has done many other things in the hockey world. He worked for the USHL as the Director of Hockey Operations from 2009-2013, helping coordinate daily hockey operation activities within the league, directing USHL Player Development, and contributing to the overall marketing efforts of the USHL.

Tony played two seasons in the USHL for the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders from (2000-02) after enjoying a three-year prep career at Shattuck St. Mary's. He earned a scholarship to play hockey at the University of Notre Dame. Tony Gill played 74 games during his four-year career for the Irish and received a Bachelor's Degree in Business Marketing from the school.

Tony is a native of Rochester, Minnesota and resides with his wife Kelly and two kids Grace and Patrick in Glenview, IL.

Oliver Freij

Director of Goaltending

Oliver has coached with GDI USA since 2007 when he began training as a student. Through the past four seasons as the Goaltending Director for the CSDHL Falcons Hockey Association, and numerous Chicagoland High Schools, over 15 of his students advanced to the AAA Tier 1 level. He also serves as one of the Chicago Blackhawks Emergency Backup Goaltenders.

Oliver attended the University of Utah and achieved a Bachelor of Science degree in Strategic Communication. He played four years for the university’s club team and was regularly summoned to duty for the ECHL (AA level pro) Utah Grizzlies as their emergency backup and practice goaltender after his collegiate career. Having coached in Utah for many hockey associations, he is also a goalie gear guru, after working in the hockey shop industry for years. His teaching philosophy is driven by building a strong detailed technical game as well as using situational examples based on his experience and that of Professional, Collegiate, and Junior goaltenders.

Oliver is an avid sports and history buff who thrives at soccer when he is outside the rink. He is 32, originally from San Francisco, CA, and grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. He currently resides in Chicago, IL.