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Candidates for BYHA Board

By Bruce Hasbargen, 04/04/18, 1:45PM CDT


April 11th is the BYHA Annual meeting.  The following people are running for 3 Board member positions:

Jason Brodina

Leslie Gessner

Bruce Hasbargen

Andy Haskell

Ryan OLeary

Matthew Lee


Below are bios that each candidate has submitted.



Jason Brodina

I, Jason Brodina, am running for re-election to the BYHA board of directors.  I have served one 3 year term, being Vice President for the last 2 years.  I am also involved in many other organizations in the Bemidji community, including Bemidji Youth Baseball, Greater Bemidji, Visit Bemidji.  I am also one of the owners of Choice Therapy in Bemidji, a private practice therapy clinic. I have 2 kids playing youth hockey, one at the bantam level, one at the mite level for next year. 


Please consider me in re-election for this Youth Hockey board position.



Leslie Gessner

I have been involved in Bemidji youth hockey since 2011. I have a son who will be a first year peewee this fall.  I was a Mite Age Rep for 3 years and then joined the BYHA Board 2 years ago.  I have served as Secretary for the past year and have been a member of the grievance committee. I have also organized the season kickoff and have been the Age Rep Coordinator. If I am elected, I will continue to work on trying to make the volunteer process easier, such as age rep/manager handbooks and clear instruction of duties. Further, my experience from different roles, will help me see issues from different perspectives, to help improve youth hockey for both players and parents.



Bruce Hasbargen

Having served on the BYHA Board for the past six years, I am interested in continuing to serve. I want to see the hockey program continue to move forward to meet the demands of our growing organization.


Hockey is a sport I have enjoyed my whole life and have volunteered as a coach for more than 20 years. It has many life-long lessons to be learned – from playing and getting along with others, to pushing yourself to do your best – to name a few. It’s fun to be with the kids and to coach them along as they learn the sport.


My wife, Tanya, and I have four children, ages 11 to 19, who have each skated in the BYHA. Our youngest, JD, will be a second year PeeWee and Chloe skates with the Bemidji High School Girls team. We moved to Bemidji in 2010 when I accepted the position of County Engineer with Beltrami County. We love the Bemidji community and enjoy being active and making a difference.



Andy Haskell

I grew up in Bemidji and experienced the Bemidji Youth Hockey program as a player from age 4 through Bantams.  My wife, Lena, and I have four kids, three of whom are currently in the Bemidji Youth Hockey program.  I played high school hockey for the Lumberjacks and went on to play NCAA Division 1 hockey for Army West Point.  Hockey has opened many doors for me in life for which I am very thankful.  More importantly, it has taught me life lessons about hard work, teamwork, and sacrifice which I believe have served me well beyond my time as a player.


I have tried to share my passion for the game through coaching over the past several years.  I have been an assistant coach at the Termite and Mite level for the past five years.  I spent one year as an assistant coach for the Squirt C team.  This past season, I was the Head Coach for the girls 10U team.  I feel that these experiences have given me a solid understanding of how the USA Hockey ADM model is being implemented in our program.


Professionally, I serve as Agency Manager for Insure Forward and as a Financial Advisor for Invest Forward in Bemidji.  I serve as the Treasurer on the Bemidji Town & Country Club Board and as Vice Chair on the Face It Together – Bemidji Board. 


My aim in running for the BYHA Board is to help foster a fun, challenging program that helps all kids develop their skills and grow as athletes and leaders.  I believe in process, accountability, and transparency in governance and I would do my utmost to uphold these standards on the BYHA Board.  I would greatly appreciate your vote.



Ryan OLeary

My family and I have lived in Bemidji now for a little over two years. I'm originally from the Duluth area and I came up to Bemidji for hockey school as a young kid and for various work reasons as an adult before we moved up here.  In terms of my hockey background, I played high school hockey at Hermantown, college hockey at the University of Denver, and I was drafted to play professionally by Calgary. I have about seven years of hockey coaching experience and have served on various boards in the past.  I currently work as a college teacher and I also work for a non-profit organization based out of Phoenix where I do some travelling speaking and teaching work. I have three boys who play in the association.  I look forward to serving on the board and being a part of improving the Bemidji Youth Hockey Association!



Matthew Lee, M.D.

My name is Matthew Lee and I am announcing my running for the Bemidji Youth Hockey Association Board. My wife, Dina, twin boys and I moved to Bemidji 8 years ago and were soon introduced to Bemidji’s enthusiasm for hockey. I would like to be involved with two specific goals in mind. The first is to promote the opportunity to play hockey to as many children as possible. The second is to support the development of a competitive program at the youth level and to coordinate with the high school program.


I grew up in West Fargo, ND playing basketball. At that time, there was great community enthusiasm and a strong basketball culture. A vivid memory is of my elementary school teacher rolling in a television to watch the final minutes of the 1983 State Basketball Championship, which the West Fargo Packers won. Nine years later, I was fortunate to participate on another State Championship team.


After graduating from high school, I enlisted in the United States Army Reserve and received training as a Russian voice intercept with additional interrogator and linguist training. I attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN from 1996 through 1998, played on the basketball team for two years and graduated with a B.A. in Russian Studies. I enrolled at the University of North Dakota Medical School in 2001, graduated in 2005 and attended a Diagnostic Radiology residency in Spokane and Seattle, WA from 2005 through 2010. Following residency, we moved to Bemidji.


Governance and administrative experience are assets I can bring to the BYHA board. I have had the opportunity to function as the Chief Resident in residency, as the Radiology Department Chair in Bemidji, served on the Board of Governors, currently serve as the Chair of the Physician Executive Council and have participated in many strategic meetings for Sanford locally and at the enterprise level.


It’s with excitement and energy that I approach this opportunity. Athletics impart to our children life lessons, keep them healthy, and strengthen community ties.  I bring appreciation for sports’ ability to educate our children about perseverance and grit, sacrifice, the importance of process and teamwork.  Though I have not competed in hockey, I am familiar with the culture of competition and sport.  My contribution can be to support the system and players in a role of governance and administration.


Thank you for your consideration.