West Chester Wolves To Join NCDC In 2024-25

By Joshua Boyd / NCDCHockey.com 

The National Collegiate Development Conference and the United States Premier Hockey League are excited and proud to announce that the West Chester Wolves will be joining the league at the NCDC Tier 2 level of play. The West Chester Wolves will play out of the newly renovated PNY Sports Arena in West Chester, PA. 

The team will play out of the PNY Sports Arena in West Chester, Pa., and the team, owned by Raymond Mirra (ASM Hockey Group LLC ) has already announced its NCDC Head Coach, General Manager and program director, R.C. Lyke. Lyke is a familiar name in the USPHL, having coached the Richmond Generals USPHL Premier and USPHL Elite teams (and their earlier equivalents) from 2011 through 2023. This included a pair of USPHL Elite National Championships in 2019 and 2022. 

“I’m working with a great owner and friend whom I’ve known for a while now, and we share a big vision here together,” said Lyke. “We have a lot of things on the go right now and we are doing things the right way. With my background and coaching history, I think many people will know what to expect and the quality of the product. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by a great owner, great coaches, great staff, and more importantly people I call my friends to help start this process. Our staff is almost completed and we are bringing in a lot of great hockey people to help coach and run these teams and programs for our players.” 

R.C. Lyke (Head Coach / GM NCDC), Joe Tarpy (Head of Operations), and Ray Mirra (Owner) first reached out to the NCDC and USPHL Commissioner Bob Turow in 2023. 

“I look forward to working with Raymond Mirra and his team led by Joe Tarpy and R.C. Lyke. West Chester will prove to be a wonderful addition,” said NCDC Commissioner Bob Turow.

R.C. Lyke is excited about the opportunity to coach at the NCDC level. In addition to his time with the Richmond Generals, Lyke has also coached at the minor pro level (at which he also played for seven years following an NCAA Division I career at Mercyhurst College). He was also a head scout for multiple top Tier II programs during his time with the Generals. 

“I’m impressed by the level of play in the NCDC today, and I’m impressed that it keeps getting better every year,” said Lyke. “Being mainly based on the East Coast, the NCDC has great allure for colleges with its focus on developing and progressing players to the NCAA, CHL, and the USHL. There are a large number of people working within the NCDC that I respect and have very strong relationships with for many years now.” 

Mirra is also affiliated with and has been chairman of Liguori Academy, a private high school in downtown Philadelphia where Wolves players still in high school will be able to receive a high-level education while playing within the organization. 

Coach Lyke said that, behind the scenes while all the necessary paperwork was being done, the Wolves have been able to begin to build their program and also reach out to prospective players for their teams for next season. 

“We have brought a strong staff on board already, including our Head of Scouting Greg Gatto, and together we have been utilizing our connections with advisers, players and coaches,” said Lyke. “It will be a long process until Day 1 of the upcoming  season, but we expect not just to be in the NCDC but to compete for a Dineen Cup Championship. The most important goal, however, is always to develop quality young men who will become successful in life while being great collegiate student-athletes.This will remain our mission statement to our players and families always moving forward. We will build our Wolves culture most importantly around these 4 principles: Family, Development, Discipline, and Tradition.” 

The addition of Gatto to the staff brings in an individual with an 18-year coaching career that followed a fantastic Canadian university and pro hockey playing career. 

“Our Head of Scouting, Greg Gatto, has amassed a ton of hockey connections and coaching experience,” said Lyke. “We are lucky to have him with us and with our group, and he will be a big help in finding and signing very talented players from the start. When you look at his playing and coaching track record, he is someone we are very excited to have on our staff. I am also excited to be working with Greg because he is a longtime friend and more importantly.” 

Coach Lyke very recently coached against Gatto, as both were in the USPHL Premier from 2019-21, with Gatto coaching the Hampton Roads Whalers Premier team in that period. Preceding that were two years in the minor Pro Hockey in the CHL, eight years as a Head Coach of his alma mater the University of Lethbridge (Alberta) Division 1 CIS, and six years as the GM/Head Coach of the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes. 

Coach Lyke and Joe Tarpy have also hired Eric Knodel to be the West Chester Wolves “Player Development and Skills Coach” for next season. This is another big name hire to our staff and just adds another great hockey coach and more importantly quality person to our group. Eric was drafted in 2009 by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 5th round of the NHL Draft. Eric played 6 years of professional hockey in the American Hockey League (AHL) and the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). Eric was selected as the ECHL “Defenseman of the Year” and an ECHL First Team All-Star during the 2019 season. Before playing pro hockey Eric played at the University of New Hampshire NCAA Division 1 where he was the captain of the team his senior season at UNH. Eric played in the USHL for the Des Moines Buccaneers for one season before attending the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Eric is currently the Hockey Director for the West Chester Quakers AA Hockey program and the Rink Manager for PNY Sports Arena. Eric is a proud alumni of the West Chester Quakers Youth Program.

Coach Lyke and Joe Tarpy have also hired Dale Sumner (Midwest Scout), Brent Honcharuk (Canadian Scout) , and Nick Pagliacci (Eastern Scout) as scouts for the West Chester Wolves hockey programs. All three of these individuals have a wealth of high level coaching and scouting experience with high level players. They are all quality people most importantly and all three of these individuals will help us find and secure numerous skilled hockey players and prospects. They all also understand the quality of the players character most importantly we are looking to bring into our program and culture. We as a staff are all very fortunate and excited to have these 3 high quality individuals working with our group. 

PNY Sports Arena has been recently renovated head-to-toe and is an excellent one-sheet facility. There are some very nice upgrades and features that you just will not find at many other ice rinks and facilities. We are adding even more top of the line renovations at PNY arena currently to better fit our players and programs new needs. Our program will be able to offer our players the following amenities: each team will have their own private locker rooms,team training and recovery room, video room, players lounge, coaches offices and lounge, private team gym, synthetic ice shooting areas with shooting tarps. All of our teams will have specific access to our own sponsored chiropractors, massage therapists, athletic trainers, and orthopedics staff. 

Welcome to the Wolves Den! #WCW#Family#RollPack 

The NCDC and USPHL wish the West Chester Wolves the very best of luck in their upcoming inaugural NCDC season in 2024-25.


If you are interested in learning more about the West Chester Wolves NCDC team, please contact Head Coach R.C. Lyke at rclyke@westchesterwolves.com. You can also go to the Wolves team website at www.westchesterwolves.com