Zac Pearson was born in White Lake, Mi and now resides in Decatur where he lives with his wife and two kids. Zac has 30 years of hockey experience in a variety of leagues. Zac grew up playing AAA in Detroit for Little Caesars, where he then left for the USHL Cedar Rapids Roughriders. After one year in the USHL Zac went to get a Division 1 scholarship to Ferris State University in the CCHA where he played four years on the varsity program and received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. Zac went on to play 6 years of pro hockey in various leagues. After 6 years of playing professionally Zac received an opportunity to coach, which he gladly accepted. Zac Coached Junior A and also in the professional ranks of the CHL and the SPHL, where to this day he is the only player, Head Coach, and Asst. Coach in the SPHL all in the same season. Zac is now the owner of the Decatur Blaze of the USPHL Premier, where he also coaches. Zac’s vast network and knowledge has allowed him to help many kids improve their hockey skills and get to the next level in their playing careers. Coach Pearson has been coaching the Blaze for the past seven seasons.
Jim Meyer spent the 2019-20 season serving as head coach of the Illinois State University ACHA Division III team after being an assistant with the Blaze in 2018-19.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to return to the Blaze,” Meyer said. “The program is first-class from top to bottom. The development focus within the program is evidenced in the player performance progression from the beginning of the season to the end.
“Decatur is a great hockey town and the environment at home games is second to none in the USPHL. The most rewarding part of coaching here is to witness the lifelong bonds that are developed within the team.”
A USA Hockey Level 5-certified coach, Meyer’s experience spans three decades of successful player and program development as a hockey director, coach and instructor, as well as in off-ice management. This includes the formation of a very successful Tier II youth program in Chicago.
The Decatur Blaze announced Nov. 5, 2019, that Alec Hernandez has been named team’s new assistant coach.
A 22-year-old from St. Louis, Hernandez played two years in Decatur (2016-18), serving as team captain during the 2017-18 USPHL season.
In 85 regular-season games for the Blaze, Hernandez posted 36 goals and 34 assists for 70 points. In 12 playoff games, he recorded 11 goals and 20 points, leading the team in scoring in 2017 as Decatur finished third nationally.
The Decatur Blaze has announced Matt Groves as the team’s new goalie coach for the 2018-19 season.
Matt is a native to the Central Illinois area and is a chiropractor in Decatur, studying at Palmer College in Davenport, IA. He owns Groves Family Chiropractic in Decatur.
While earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Science/Biological Science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Matt played varsity Division II hockey and helped the team win three straight championships.
Matt brings extensive experience working with younger goalies. Last season, Matt was the Goalie Skills coach for the Decatur Youth Hockey Association and has experience with the Rick Heinz Goalie Camps.