Board of Directors - President & PRIHA Founder
Scott was born and raised in Tampa, Florida conveniently right when the Tampa Bay Lightning's NHL franchise was founded. Scott fell in love with the game early and played youth hockey in the Tampa area through graduating High School. Scott's father Luis Vargas Jr., whom was born in Puerto Rico and spent his childhood there was introduced to the game through Scott's passion and hockey quickly became core to the Vargas household. Scott played NCAA hockey at Finlandia University before going overseas to Finland to fulfill his dream of playing professionally. Over the years Scott has both volunteered and worked as a coach for various youth camps and hockey programs. Scott founded the Puerto Rico Ice Hockey Association in 2019 and is the primary operator of the association overseeing all areas.
Board of Directors - Vice President
Luis, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, began his journey with ice hockey when his first son, Scott, PRIHA's founder and President first went to a hockey game. Luis was quick to follow Scott on the ice and found himself in a beginner league learning the sport in his early thirties. Luis was part of the first ever ice hockey representing Puerto Rico in 2019 and found himself scoring the first ever goal for "Team Puerto Rico" on ice.
Luis, an Engineering Executive, brings 20+ years of coaching and coaching education experience to PRIHA in addition to experience on well established non-profit organizations.
Board of Directors - National Olympic Committee Affairs
Antonio is the President of La Federación Puertorriqueña de Atletas Invernales (FPAI). The FPAI acts as the national governing body of Puerto Rico Winter Olympic Sports. It is the parent organization of any and all Puerto Rico Winter Athletes. The FPAI facilitates participation in Winter Sports and provides structure.
Advisory Board - Advisor, Hockey Operations
Brett, a native of Minnesota, is the Founder & President of Hockey International and owner of the Tampa Bay Juniors hockey club. Brett has also been a large part of the USAH Women's National program in the past decade, working with the development camps and was the Associate Head Coach of the 2018 Gold Medal USA Women's Olympic Team. Strot played 10 years professionally in the ECHL, UHL, ACHL, IHL & WHA2 and was a three-year letter winner at the University of Minnesota. During the last 10+ years Brett Junior teams have been very successful with a number of players who have moved to Professional hockey along with NCAA Div-I/II/II programs and others moving on to ACHA college clubs.
Cristoval "Boo" Nieves
Advisory Board - Advisor, Player Development
Boo is a Syracuse, NY native and the first ever Puerto Rican player to play in the NHL. Boo is an alumni of the University of Michigan where he played four years and won the Big 10 sportsmanship award in 2016 while helping the Wolverines win a Big10 Championship title. Boo played professionally for 5 years including 76 NHL games with the New York Rangers. He is currently the Director of Player Development for Topline Hockey a specialized training service for aspiring athletes.
Advisory Board - Advisor, Legal Affairs
Advisory Board - Advisor, Community Affairs
Jose is the Founder and President of Asociación Puertorriqueña de DFW and Texas Puerto Rican Foundation Inc.
. He also runs Borikén Creative Concepts LLC, a niche marketing, B2C consulting and Puerto Rican talent agency.
Integrity Committee - Chair
“Jimmie” is the Chair of PRIHA’s Disciplinary Committee. Jimmie lives in Chicago, Illinois and is the Chief of Staff for the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Iris Martinez who served nearly 30 years as a state senator and was the first elected Latina senator in Illinois. Jimmie started with Clerk Martinez as the Inspector General where investigated allegations of fraud, abuse, misconduct, and mismanagement within the office. Prior to joining the Clerk, he served as the Deputy Chief of Investigations for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Jimmie developed and managed a specialized team assigned to respond to police encounters during the civil unrest that occurred in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Jimmie oversaw the investigation of numerous officer involved shootings and in custody deaths during his tenure with COPA. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Law School in 2006, Jimmie started practicing law as a prosecutor for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in the appeals, narcotics and civil actions bureaus. Jimmie brings extensive litigation experience in criminal and civil rights litigation as well as experience with labor law. Jimmie grew up in Milwaukee Wisconsin and started his hockey career after seeing the Mighty Ducks and begging his parents to let him play. He maintains his lifelong love of hockey, currently coaching his daughters squirt team and continuing to stay active in men’s leagues. Jimmie played with Puerto Rico’s Development team in Chicago and at the 2022 Latam Cup.
Integrity Committee - Co-Chair
Events Committee - Co-Chair
Hockey Operations Committee - Co-Chair & PRIHA Performance Coach
Lee MJ Elias is a 2x award winning author and has coached at the international, professional, collegiate, and youth levels. He is also the founder of Hockey Wraparound and Game Seven Group. In addition, Lee’s professional experience includes having helped organizations such as the NHL, NBC, Hearst Media, A&E, Madison Square Garden, and several sports organizations. Lee is an acclaimed keynote speaker in both virtual and in person events, and is the co-host of Our Kids Play Hockey, a top podcast in the hockey market. Lee is passionate about his mission to make the world believe in trust and teamwork through his coaching, speaking and consulting work.
Hockey Operations Committee - Co-Chair & Head of Men's National Program
Paul brings 30 years of individual and team coaching experience to PRIHA. Paul coached at the OHL level in addition to running his own skater and goaltending camps for many years. In 2022, Paul led the Puerto Rico Men's National Team to its first gold-medal in the LATAM Cup. Paul competed at the NCAA Division 1 level at St. Lawrence University bringing the school to two ECAC Championships and an NCAA Finals appearance. After college Paul played professionally for eleven seasons including time in the American Hockey League. Paul is an entrepreneur and runs his own business after a successful post-hockey career as a sales executive in the corporate world.
Hockey Operations Committee - Co-Chair & Head of Women's National Program
Keira has loved hockey for the past 25 years. She attended the Hotchkiss School in CT from 2010 - 2013 before playing 4 years between the pipes for Utica College in NY. Keira has a BA in Public relations and a Masters in Nutrition and Integrative Health from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She was also a goalie for the Connecticut Whale of the PHF (then NWHL) and coached at Wesleyan University (NESCAC) during the 2017 - 2018 season. She has been with PRIHA since September 2021 and is excited to continue growing the program and spreading the game of hockey for Puerto Rico.
PRIHA Skating Coach
Tasha is a native of Moscow, growing up skating in Russia’s premier hockey & skating club - CSKA Moscow. During her 14 years in the CSKA, Natalia was a two time Junior Club Champion on her way to a National Pairs Championship. She skated. Coach Natalia has taken her expertise to the hockey world with a unique approach identifying the bio-mechanical requirements specific to hockey and has both on-ice and off-ice expertise to make you a better technical skater. Tasha has worked with US National/Olympic team players, former NCAA Division-I players and elite professional youth prospect from the U.S., Russia, Finland and Canada.
Juan Gonzalez / GVN Performance
PRIHA Strength & Conditioning Coach
Juan is a Chicago native and resides there today. Juan comes to PRIHA after a two-year stint working with the Chicago Blackhawks AHL affiliate the Rockford Ice Hogs. GVN Performance has physical locations in Plymouth, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois, GVN is focused on strength & conditioning, speed, recovery, mobility, injury prevention, and the evaluation of each athlete. Under the direction of owner Brian Gallivan and his team of professionals, GVN currently trains several current NHL players, the U.S. National Program, and several other elite Junior and Youth Clubs.
Men's National Team - Associate Coach
Men's National Team - Team Manager
Women's National Team - Team Manager
Men's U20 National Team - Head Coach
Men's U15 National Team - Assistant Coach
Men's U15 National Team - Team Manager
Media & Brand Committee - Chair
Michael is originally from New York City and resides in the greater Boston area. His Puerto Rican heritage comes from his biological father who was born in Rio Piedras, PR. Michael runs an executive consulting firm; Transformative Consulting, Inc. who provides management consulting services to the corporate and manufacturing sectors in the fields of Marketing, Social Media Management, Human Resources, and Leadership Development. On the hockey side of things Michael was Executive Director of the 2015 AAU Central District (Illinois) Mite Championship tournament and has been a General Manager and Assistant Coach of various teams within the Assabet Patriots Hockey Program, specifically National Bound teams in the 15O, U16, and U18 divisions.
Media & Brand Committee - Co-Chair
Edward was born in and grew up just outside of Syracuse, NY. His father played hockey and helped his mom fall in love with the sport soon after she came to the United States. His dad built him a rink every year and would take him to local ponds every weekend. Edward would also tag along to his mothers business conferences in Lake Placid every winter and spent endless hours on the lake. At 15 he began playing Junior A with the Syracuse Stampede . His dream soon became to follow in the footsteps of teammate Anthony Angello and play for Cornell, which Anthony did before moving on to the Pittsburgh Penguins. After being dealt a career ending injury Edward went on to become a play-by-play commentator and at 18 was considered for a radio spot on Sirius XM before moving on from TV and radio to work in the film industry.
Puerto Rico Resident Committee - Co-Chair
Puerto Rico Resident Committee - Co-Chair & U15 National Team - Head Coach
David is a business executive with over 20 years in the Corporate Development and Pharmaceuticals industry. David brings both strong business acumen and hockey experience to PRIHA. A product of Dartmouth College, where he was captain of the men’s ice hockey team, David is also a former professional hockey player.
Puerto Rico Resident Committee - Co-Chair
Gilberto was born in Virginia and was raised in Mason City Iowa where he fell in love with the game of Hockey. Both parents where born and raised in Puerto Rico and did not know about the game of hockey until Gilberto at 5 years old started to compete. He played his years with the Mason City Mohawks. As a, sophomore in Highschool, he led the Junior Varsity team as a Captain to a Championship win. As a Varsity player was also a Captain but lost in the championship game. In college Gilberto played for the Augsburg Auggies in Minnesota for a year then had to move to Puerto Rico ending his career as a hockey player.