St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame

 

 

 

 

 

Bio

Keith has over 30 years of experience in sports administration; coaching and program development at the amateur; international and professional levels. As a youngster growing up in St. Louis he began skating at an early age and quickly became interested in speed skating, participating and medaling in many Silver Skates Championships and State Championships as a member of the Clayton Speed Skating Club. In 1968 he participated in the US Olympic Speed Skating Trials in West Allis Wisconsin. A former classmate from Ladue, Glen Patrick (son of Blues GM Lynn Patrick) quickly got Blase interested in Hockey and although High School Hockey did not exist in those days, he and his 2 brothers began playing in "pick-up" games and Adult Leagues around the area. He also played briefly for Mousey MacDonald, former goaltender for the St. Louis Flyers.

Along the way he began his "coaching journey" with the Clayton Amateur Ice Hockey Association and the late Paul Weisman, coaching the Bantam & Midget teams and later moving on to coach the Clayton High School Team from 1973-76. From 1976 - 78 while managing the Brentwood Ice Arena he coached the Brentwood Blazers Midget AAA Team.

In 1978 Keith was hired as the first Director of Amateur Hockey Development for the St. Louis Blues and was charged with the responsibility of working with local amateur hockey leaders to help "grow the game" throughout the region - this was a commitment that Emile Francis, the Blues President and General Manager believed very strongly in, as did the late Frank Ferrara (HOF 2009), who served as VP of Administration for the Blues at the time! During his time with the Blues, Keith also served as the Central District Coaching Director for USA Hockey (then AHAUS - The Amateur Hockey Association of the US) and as Head Coach for the Affton Flames from 1980 - 82, a Senior Team comprised of some of St. Louis's best former College and Pro Players.

He continued with the Blues until 1983 when the team's ownership - Ralston Purina - ceased operations. In June of 1983 he was hired by USA Hockey as Director of Coaching and Player Development, succeeding Lou Vairo who had moved on to coach the 1984 US Men's Olympic Ice Hockey Team. During his tenure at USA Hockey, Blase was responsible for an expansive growth of both the Coaching Education Program and the Player Development Program - his accomplishments include:

-    Authored 7 Coaching Manuals
-    Produced 11 Coaching Instructional Videos - the first ever produced by USAH
-    Started the USA Hockey Initiation Program (Level 1) and Level 5 (Master Level) Coaching Clinic
-    Created the USA Hockey Player Development Program for players 14-18 including the USAH District Development Camps; 4 Regional Camps; 2 National Camps; the Elite Regional & National Goaltending Camps and the U17 & U18 National Teams
-    1985 - Head Coach, U18 National Team
-    1986 - Head Coach, U17 National Team
-    1983; 1984; 1985; 1988 - General Manager, US National Junior Team
-    1988; 1992 - US Olympic Team
-    1989 - First recipient of USA Hockey's Walter Yaciuk award for Outstanding Contribution and Dedicated Service to the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program
-    1989 - Asst. Coach, US Senior Select Team
-    1990; 1992 - Asst. General Manager, US National Team competing in the Goodwill Games

In 1989 he was promoted to the role of Assistant Executive Director and served under the late Bob Johnson and former USOC Executive Barron Pittinger until 1993

In 1994 Keith returned to St. Louis as Co-Founder of the St. Louis Vipers, along with former Blues stars Bernie Federko & Perry Turnbull. From 1998 - 2002 he returned to his "roots" as Director of Amateur Hockey Development for the Phoenix Coyotes.

In 2003 he was appointed by the US Olympic Committee to become the first Head Coach of the US Paralympic Sled Hockey program under the newly created Paralympic Division. He guided the team to a Silver Medal in the 2004 World Championships and a Bronze Medal at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. He has been a member of the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Sport Technical Committee since 2004; an IPC Board Member and is currently serving his second term as the President of the IF and Chair of the Sport Technical Committee.

In 2002 Keith and several of his former colleagues / associates from USA Hockey took their passion for coaching and athlete development and combined it with emerging technology to Co-Found and create flexxCOACH, a leading provider of software solutions for youth and professional coaches.