Team Illinois Announces Change in Hockey Leadership

Monday, August 8 2022

Woodridge, IL. – 

The Team Illinois (TI) Amateur Hockey Association has announced a change in leadership for the program. Sean Freeman has been named the organization’s new President & Hockey Director, Eugene Cha has been named TI’s Vice President & ACE Director, and James Chiarelli is now TI’s R & E Chairman.

“I am humbled, honored and it is my privilege to return to the Team Illinois Family. The vision is to utilize the strengths within the club and invest in the program to provide more opportunities for all players to maximize their development,” said Freeman.

Sean Freeman spent his youth hockey career by playing five years for the Team Illinois and Chicago Young Americans AAA programs before moving on to Junior Hockey in the USHL, playing for both the Sioux City Musketeers and Wisconsin Capitals.  Additionally, he played in the NAHL for Springfield Jr Blues and the Kalamzoo Jr K Wings. His next four years were spent playing NCAA D3 hockey for Lake Forest College where he was a captain and led the team in scoring all four years while amassing nearly one point per game in over 100 games played. Sean then graduated to the pro ranks playing in the ECHL, UHL, WPHL & CHL from 1998.

The last three seasons Coach Freeman has been the Head Coach of the Chicago Young Americans PeeWee Major and Bantam Minor teams, as well as the Squirt Minor & Bantam Major Windy City Storm. For the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons Coach Freeman was the Head Coach of the Chicago Bulldogs Mite AA teams. Coach Freeman has head coached two teams a season or more for the last 20 years. Previously Coach Freeman served as the Head Coach & Associate Hockey Director for the Chicago Bulldogs where he coached the Squirt Major & Pee Wee Minor Central States Teams including 1st Place finish in Central States. Coach Freeman also was the Head Coach of the Falcons Squirt, Midget Minor & Midget Major teams, the NIHL Gold team in 2016-17 and the Jr Falcons Mite AA team in 2015-16. Additionally, Sean was the Hockey Director & Varsity Head Coach for an impressive 18th straight seasons at Highland Park Giants High School Hockey program.

Eugene Cha has previously coached with the Chicago Bulldogs and Highland Park High School. Cha graduated from St. Norbert’s College where has was a member of the hockey team. Eugene is a successful local business owner with a reputation of leadership, honesty, integrity and generosity.

James Chiarelli is a managing director in the Chicago office of Piper Sandler and is responsible for leading the firm’s debt capital markets platform. James will lead as the Rules & Ethics Chairman for Team Illinois. James has been a very supportive and active member of youth hockey and looks forward to helping contribute to the Team Illinois program with good citizens of solid character on and off the ice.

Larry Pedrie will continue his long tenure with Team Illinois as Director of the Girls Hockey Program while also moving into the role of Senior Advisor to the Program. Team Illinois is fortunate to have Coach Pedrie with the program and looks forward to utilizing the vast amount of experience Larry has to offer.  Larry has been instrumental in the program’s evolution as one of the top girls programs in the country and this will be his primary focus. 

Jim Marchi will enter his 18th season with the Team Illinois Program. Jim played Division 1 hockey as a member of the UIC team. As a former Team Illinois player, coach and President of Business operations Jim has a wealth of knowledge and experience to continue to give to the club. TI will rely on the counsel and expertise Jim is able to provide.

This is an invigorating time for Team Illinois as our new board is excited to take the baton of commitment to excellence on and off the ice as we celebrate the programs 40th season. As a former player in the program Sean Freeman looks forward to paying homage to founder Mickey Norton and continuing the legacy of developing boys and girls youth hockey in Illinois. 

Team Illinois is proud to call home the 7 Bridges Ice Arena in Woodbridge, IL. TI looks forward to raising the bar to build an environment of quality to grow the game of hockey with fun, passion, skill and being a good teammate for boys and girls players in and outside of the program.

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