Head Coach & General Manager - Simon Watson
Simon Watson is in his first season as the Pilots Head Coach and General Manager.
Watson played professional hockey in the Central Hockey League (CHL) for the Lubbock Cotton Kings, Rocky Mountain Rage, and the Missouri Mavericks. His strong leadership qualities on and off the ice, and significant contributions to his community didn't go unnoticed as he was named the 2011 CHL Man of the Year.
He played MWJHL junior hockey in his home town, Waterloo, Ontario, for the Waterloo Siskins. From 2001-2006 Watson played NCAA Division 1 collegiate hockey at St. Lawrence University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Masters of Educational Leadership.
On August 5, 2011, Watson retired as a player and became the Mavericks' Assistant Director of Hockey Operations. Watson has continued to work with the Kansas City Mavericks in various capacities including Associate Coach, Director of Player Personnel, and Color Analyst for televised Mavericks games.
On May 9, 2013, he was named to the coaching staff of the KC Mavs Elite Midget AAA team. He also volunteers with the Jr. Mavericks by coaching and teaching youth hockey players in the Kansas City area. Watson is a registered level 5 Coach with USA hockey.
Simon and his wife Megan live in Riverside, Missouri with their two sons Hudson and Sawyer.
Associate Coach - Justin DeMartino
Justin DeMartino will be in his second season with the RoadRunners. In 2017-2018, Justin was assistant coach and then in November became the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Prior to arriving in Topeka, Justin started his coaching career as a volunteer assistant for his alma matter Ferris State University. As a volunteer, he primarily did video and individual skill sessions/workouts with players and goaltenders.
While playing for the Bulldogs from 2010-2014, DeMartino was a part of the 2012 team that finished Runner Up at the Frozen Four and the 2014 team that won the WCHA tournament and lost to North Dakota in the Elite 8. Justin graduated in 2014 with a degree in Sports Communications.
Justin resides in Kansas City, Missouri with his girlfriend Gabrielle.
Goaltender Coach & Director of Business Operations - Joe Clark
Joe Clark joined the Pilots staff in the spring of 2018 and plays a part in the office and on the ice. He handles the business operations in the office and coach the team's goaltenders in the rink.
Prior to arriving in Topeka, Clark spent 28 years as an NHL scout, minor league GM and head coach, college goaltending coach, and a decade-long stint as a head coach in Europe. Most recently, Clark was a midwest scout for the New York Islanders. Clark is also part of the NHL goaltending group Net360, based out of Kelowna, B.C.
Clark got his coaching career off the ground as the goalie coach at the University of Maine, and helped the Black Bears to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 1987 and the school's first Frozen Four in 1988.
The Augusta, Maine, native split 10 years as a head coach between the Danish Elite League and the Norwegian Elite League, and later became the first-ever head coach of the minor league Odessa Jackalopes, then a member of the Western Professional Hockey League.
After scouting and coaching in the New York Islanders system for several years, Clark returned to Odessa as the team's GM and maintained his ties with the Islanders. The Jackalopes served as a minor league affiliate of New York and were instrumental in getting several Odessa players opportunities in both the AHL and NHL.
During his 8 years in Odessa, Clark helped the team win numerous league awards - including Franchise of the Year in 1998 and 1999, and the Central Hockey League's Most Improved franchise in 2009. His club was also recognized as the league's top team in community relations in 2009 and 2010.
Clark would later help the Jackalopes transition into junior hockey as Odessa became a member of the North American Hockey League. He then moved on to Topeka and became the RoadRunners Executive Director of Business Operations before accepting a position at the University of Denver as the team's Recruiting Coordinator and Goaltending Coach.
Joe and his wife Stephanie are the proud parents of three children - daughter Sydnie (19), son Tanner (17) and daughter Ella (10), and reside in Topeka.
Athletic Trainer - Brianna Medina-Arnold
Brianna Medina-Arnold, an Austin, Texas native, joins the Pilots for her first season in hockey.
The University of Kansas graduated received her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training this past spring. Throughout school Bri gained knowledge in an array of sports including football, volleyball and soccer with the university teams, softball and baseball at Eudora High School, and gymnastics at Lawrence High School.
Bri is excited to work with the Pilots and expand her knowledge of the sport. She lives in Topeka with her kitten Winston and guinea pig Remi.
Equipment Manager - George Escamilla
Veteran equipment manager, George Escamilla joins the Topeka Pilots for the franchise's inaugural season in the North American Hockey League. Escamilla, who has been on the bench for nearly 1,500 games, is beginning his 21st season in the minor pro and junior hockey ranks.
He began his career with the Amarillo Rattlers of the Western Professional Hockey League and also worked for the Abilene Aviators (WPHL), Fort Worth Brahmas (WPHL and Central Hockey League) and Corpus Christi IceRays (CHL and NAHL).
Escamilla also has worked in minor league baseball as a clubhouse manager for the Amarillo Dillas, Fort Worth Cats and Corpus Christi Hooks, the Class AA affiliate of the Houston Astros. He was part of championship clubs with the Dillas (1999) and Hooks (2006) and won the Texas League’s Best Visitors’ Clubhouse award in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Escamilla, a native of Amarillo, Texas, is a graduate of Phillips University in Enid, Okla. He makes his home in Fort Worth, Texas.