HEAD COACH: David Williams
Dave Williams enters his seventh season as Head Coach of the Stratford Warriors.
Prior to joining the Warriors, Dave was the Head Coach of the Kitchener Dutchmen for the 2013-2014 season. With the help of Assistant Coach Mike McLeod on the bench, the Dutchmen finished the season in first place and tied the league record for most consecutive wins at 25 games.
From 2010-2012, Dave served as both Head Coach and the Director of Hockey Operations for the Listowel Cyclones Hockey Organization. During the 2010-2011 season, Listowel lost in the Cherrey Cup Final to the eventual Sutherland Cup Champions; the Elmira Sugar Kings.
Dave’s coaching resume extends beyond the GOJHL. From 2006-2010, he served as the Associate Head Coach with the Wilfrid Laurier Men’s Varsity Hockey Team. Dave was fortunate to be a part of this very successful University program which saw the team make it to the National Championship before losing in the semi-finals in 2007. Dave got his start coaching in the Midwestern Junior B Hockey League, when he coached in Listowel from 2003-2006 with Assistant Coach Jason Clarke. During the 2004-2005 season, the team captured the organization’s first Cherrey Cup.
In 2019-2020 Dave was named the OHA Coach of the Year.
A native of Stratford himself, Dave was lucky to have grown up playing for many local coaches that served as strong mentors within the Stratford Minor Hockey Association. His own hockey career saw him play for the Listowel Cyclones, the St. Mary’s Lincolns, and concluded in the 1995-1996 season as a member of Stratford Cullitons. Dave is a teacher at Mitchell District High School. Dave, Kerry and their 3 daughters (Dayna, Leah and Shay) reside in Nithburg.
ASSISTANT COACH: Mike McLeod
Mike is a former Stratford Culliton having played 4 seasons with the team (1986-1991) and winning a Sutherland Cup in 1990. After Junior hockey, Mike went on to play University hockey — graduating Lakehead University (1995) with an Honours Degree in Kinesiology and graduating from the University of Windsor (1996) with a Bachelor of Education.
Mike has extensive coaching experience. He has been with the Stratford Warrior’s since 2015 (winning the Cherry Cup in 2016); prior to that Mike was an Assistant Coach with the Kitchener Dutchmen for the 2013-14 season – winning the regular season title and tying an OHA record with 25 consecutive wins. Mike held various positions with Stratford Minor Hockey from 2002 until 2013 (Coach/Executive Member/Director of Player & Coach Development). He also coached the Listowel Lightning High School Varsity Hockey Team from 1998-2012.
Mike is a teacher at the Listowel District Secondary School. He lives with his wife Lori and 4 children (Jay, Ty, Aly and Lexi) in Stratford.
ASSISTANT COACH: Dave Schlitt
Dave Schlitt returns to the Warriors for his sixth season as an Assistant Coach.
Prior to joining the team for the 2017-2018 season, Dave had twenty seasons of minor hockey coaching experience, including thirteen seasons as a Head Coach of various AA and AAA teams in the Waterloo Minor Hockey Association (1996 – 2009) and seven seasons as a Head Coach and Assistant Coach of the Huron-Perth Lakers Minor and Major Midget AAA teams (2009 – 2016).
For the 2016-2017 season, Dave was the Director of Operations for Alliance Hockey’s Under-16 Program of Excellence.
Dave was an Assistant Coach (2010) and Head Coach (2013) with Alliance Hockey’s Under-16 teams and was an Assistant Coach of Team Ontario Under-16 Men’s Hockey Team (2015 Canada Winter Games Gold Medalists).
Dave was also with the University of Waterloo Warriors Men’s Hockey program for eight seasons (2009 -2017) as the team’s Recruiting Coordinator.
Dave is the Director of Finance at Spruce Lodge Home for the Aged and resides in Stratford with his partner Lisa Phillips.
ASSISTANT COACH: Drew Gross
Drew is a former Stratford Culliton who played two seasons with the team — in 2013-2014 and then in the season-winning Cherrey Cup 2015-2016 season. Drew also spent time playing for the Woodstock Slammers of the Maritimes Hockey League and Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL in New Brunswick in 2014-2015.
After graduating from Junior hockey, Drew went on to pursue his career in Civil Engineering and currently works for a local firm in Stratford, GRIT Engineering.
With a 5 year break from hockey Drew returned to the sport but this time as a coach. In 2020-2021 he took on the position of Assistant Coach alongside Jason Clarke (Head of Hockey Operations) for the U14 AA Stratford Warriors. The following season Drew took on a larger role with the U18 AAA Huron Perth Lakers as an Assistant Coach, re-sparking the passion he had as a Stratford Culliton. During the 2021-2022 season he helped coached the U18 AAA Huron Perth Lakers to an Alliance Championship, the first that program had seen and the most successful season in U18 AAA Huron Perth Lakers history.
Drew looks forward to being back at the Allman and his first year coaching junior hockey.
GOALIE COACH: Mark Nelson
Mark has been a part of the Warriors team for over 20 years. Mark continues to serve as Goalie Coach and is entering his second year as Assistant General Manager. He has also been on the bench as an Assistant Coach.
Mark played Junior B for New Hamburg Hahns and Senior A for the Stratford Indians. He has also served as an Alliance U17 evaluator.
Mark is currently the Director of Evaluation for the Erie Otters of the OHL. He was also a Canadian University Scout for Rio Grande Valley Killer Bee’s of the Central Professional Hockey League.
Mark has recently retired after 30 years at Canada Post. Mark and his wife Patti live in Stratford and are proud grandparents to Cameron and Callum.
VIDEO COACH: Mike Graham
Mike looks forward to his fourth full season with the Stratford Warriors as Video Coach. Prior to taking this position, Mike coached at various levels within Stratford Minor Hockey (SMHA) from 2012 to 2018, and served as Director, Coaching Selection Director and Vice-President of the association during that time.
Mike grew up in Stratford and played all the way up through the SMHA system. He resides in Breslau with wife Linda and works as Construction Manager at Culliton in Stratford.