Head Coach and Director of Player Development
Swedish professional Joakim Falt:
Joakim Falt’s career has spanned over 30 years in all areas of hockey. After playing in his native Sweden for nine years, Joakim coached in the Norwegian Elite League with Viking Hockey. After successfully coaching with the Viking organization, he was offered another coaching position in the Norwegian D1 League with Stavanger Hockey.
Joakim brought his invaluable experience as a player and a coach to the United States in the early 1990s. Building on that experience, he has successfully coached Junior Hockey bringing distinction and championships to teams in leagues including NORPAC, AWHL, and the WSHL.
USA Hockey has honored Coach Falt by extending invitations to evaluate players at district camps utilizing his unique qualities as a professional skating and skills coach for over 15 years. Joakim is invited to hockey camps across the United States to serve on the bench as a guest coach because of his experience and his ability to deliver effective development and establish immediate rapport with players.
Coach Falt believes continual development is crucial to developing skills that players need at any level of hockey. Joakim’s focus with Junior Hockey is to define and develop the core skills needed to compete at the highest level while modeling and instilling values of the highest character in the young men who play for him. His goal is to watch every player walk away from each practice having acquired a new skill and having the patience to continue developing skills precept upon precept in games and life.
Coach Falt believes in excellence on and off the ice. When he is off the ice, he enjoys spending time with family. He has two children, Brittany and Joakim Jr.
Joakim has high expectations for the upcoming season for developing a team of outstanding young men who value development and excellence in hockey to bring continued pride to the Midwest Blackbirds organization.
Assistant Coach/Goaltender Coach
Former Blackbirds goaltender Larry Pezzuto:
Pezzuto, who played two seasons with the Blackbirds, brings an abundance of playing experience to his first coaching position. Pezzuto, age 23, played goaltender for the Blackbirds organization during their historic run which saw them capture their first ever MNJHL division title in the 2014/2015 season. “That was a special year and Joakim and I will do everything in our power to return this organization to that level as quickly as possible,” Pezzuto said. The Schererville native is focused on bringing back a culture of winning, accountability, and passion to the Blackbirds organization.
Pezzuto’s youth hockey days were spent playing elite AAA for the Chicago Chill, Fury, and Mission where he traveled North America playing the very best youth players the continent had to offer. “When you’re playing at that level it can be a sink or swim type feeling. Training, focus, and skill all play a factor in how successful you will be. You have to know deep down that you belong at that level and have the confidence to back it up.”