Former Rapids coach advances to the pros

The Cincinnati Cyclones have named Alex Bezerra the team’s new Assistant Coach ahead of the 2021-22 ECHL season. Bezerra, 32, joins Jason Payne, who previously assumed the role since 2018 before being named Head Coach of the ‘Clones earlier this offseason.

“I would like to thank Kristin Ropp, Jason Payne, and the Cyclones management for the opportunity to join Jason behind the bench this season,” said Bezerra. “I’m excited to be a part of such a progressive and professional organization that is looking to grow the game in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Area and bring the Kelly Cup back to Cincinnati!”

“Jason and I have coached together in the past and share the same philosophy on player development: get the person right, and everything else will follow. We will focus on creating an environment conducive to personal and professional growth for all of our players and staff.”

A native of Toronto, Ontario, Bezerra brings with him an 11-year background in coaching at various levels of junior hockey. Alex most recently served as Director of Hockey Operations for the French River Rapids in the NOJHL (North Ontario Junior Hockey League) and Assistant Coach for the Pickering Panthers of the OJHL (Ontario Junior Hockey League). During his career behind the bench, Bezerra has coached some of hockey’s top players, including Robby Fabri, Sam Bennett, Connor McDavid, and current Cyclones forward Matt McLeod.

“Alex is a great addition to our organization,” said Cyclones Head Coach Jason Payne. “He checks the boxes we were looking for to fill this role. He has extensive knowledge of both the game of hockey as well as the recruiting side of the business. I’m excited to have him here and we look forward to starting the season here shortly.”

“I am excited to welcome Alex into the Cyclones organization,” said Vice President and General Manager Kristin Ropp. “His passion for developing players, along with his passion for the game were evident from the first conversation we had. He will quickly become an asset to Coach Payne and an amazing resource for youth hockey in the region.”

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