Business Operations Manager
St. Louis Jr. Blues
St. Louis Jr. Blues Announce Additions to Coaching and Scouting Staff
Chris Durso Named Asst. Coach; Don Moorhouse and Luke Gassett Named Scouts
The St. Louis Jr. Blues of the North American 3 Hockey League and based out of the Affton Ice Rink announced additions to the Hockey Operations team for the 2023-24 season. Chris Durso will serve as assistant coach/video coach of the team and Don Moorhouse and Luke Gassett will serve as Scouts.
Chris Durso, Assistant Coach / Video Coach
Chris Durso has coached at all levels of youth and high school hockey in the St. Louis area for the last 15 seasons. For the last five seasons, Durso coached in the St. Louis AAA Blues organization. For the 2022-23 season, he was the head coach for the U16 AAA Blues team that earned a Missouri State Championship and a third-place finish in the Central District. During the 2021-22 season, Durso and his U15 AAA Blues team won a Missouri State Championship, a Central District Tournament Championship, and finished as a quarterfinalist in the USA Hockey Tier I National Tournament. In 2020-21 during COVID, Durso led the U16 AAA Blues team to a Missouri Hockey State Championship and a second-place finish in the Central District Tournament. Durso was an assistant coach of the U16 AAA Blues team for the 2019-20 season and an assistant coach for the U18 AAA Blues team during the 2018-19 campaign. Both teams won the Missouri Hockey State Championship.
From 2017 until 2022, in addition to coaching in the AAA Blues organization, Durso was the Varsity Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations for De Smet Jesuit High School and helped lead the varsity team to three Mid-States Challenge Cup Championship games during his five years at the helm.
Prior to taking over at De Smet, from 2015-17, Durso was the head coach of the 2005 birth year AAA Blues team during their Squirt Major and Pee Wee Minor seasons. From 2012 to 2015 he was the Peewee AA Coach in the Meramec Sharks Hockey Club, and his teams won Missouri Hockey State Championships in 2013 and 2015.
Durso holds various roles on the Missouri Hockey, Inc. Board of Directors and on the Missouri Hockey Youth Division Board of Directors. Since 2018, he has been the Missouri Hockey Director of Player Development, helping to organize and run the local USA Hockey player development festival and has served as an evaluator at the Central District Player Development Festival. He currently serves as President of Missouri Hockey, USA Hockey’s affiliate.
During his coaching career, Durso had the opportunity to coach numerous players who have gone on to play at all levels of professional, junior and college hockey, including the NAHL, USHL, NCDC, NA3HL, ACHA, and NCAA Division I and Division III.
In addition to coaching, Durso is a lawyer and partner at the law firm of Evans & Dixon, LLC and resides with his wife Lauren and dog Widget in South St. Louis City.
About this new opportunity with the Jr. Blues, Durso said, “Coach Ocello and Coach Sanderson have a great vision for this program that will make it a destination for players who want to advance their hockey careers. I am excited to be a part of it and help them achieve that vision for this organization that has so much great history. I am grateful for the opportunity to execute my passion for player development on a daily basis and help the players who come here achieve their goals and dreams. I cannot wait to get started.”
“We are excited to add Chris to our program. His experience at the AAA level as well as working with elite athletes through USA Hockey brings relevant coaching techniques and networking to our players,” added Scott Sanderson, St. Louis Jr. Blues General Manager.
Don Moorhouse, Scout
Don started coaching in Winnetka, Illinois in 1969. He relocated to St. Louis, Missouri in 1976 and began coaching at the Missouri Delta Hockey program. In his first full season as head coach, he led the Peewee Major team to an overall record of 80-7-4. This team eventually merged with the Creve Coeur Comets and he remained with the team through the Midget age level. His two Midget teams competed in both the 1985 (St. Clair Shores, MI) and 1986 (St. Louis, MO) USA Hockey National Championships. During these two championships only eight teams from the country were invited to participate in the tournaments.
With Missouri Amateur Hockey’s approval, Don joined forces with St. Louis coach Rick Schooley to create the first AAA hockey program in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, the St. Louis Crusaders. The Crusaders participated in the AAA Michigan National Hockey League. In 1986, Don approached Bruce Affleck and Jack Quinn of the St. Louis Blues and worked to rename the AAA organization the St. Louis Amateur Blues. Now known as the St. Louis AAA Blues, the organization is known as a highly credible program with many alumni playing in the NHL, junior, and NCAA collegiate ranks for more than three decades.
Don has been coaching youth hockey for more than 50 years at various youth programs throughout St. Louis including Affton, Meramec, Creve Coeur and Chesterfield. He won numerous tournaments in the United States and Canada and has more than 2,500 wins. He helped numerous boys and girls obtain college degrees through hockey and coached approximately 20 players that have played in the NHL and on Olympic Teams.
“My proudest achievement has always been to develop young people into quality parents and contributing adults as they move into their adult lives,” said Moorehouse.
“Coach Moorhouse is a valuable source who will benefit our program on numerous levels. Don has inspired players and coaches for more than fifty years. I am looking forward to working with Don as he helps these young men grow both on and off the ice,” added Sanderson.
“I am very honored to have Don part of the St. Louis Jr. Blues program. Don assisted me in 1988 by providing me an opportunity to play for a team he coached, Team Missouri. Under his guidance, Team Missouri was one of the major factors in allowing me to move to the USHL the following season. Don has unmatched knowledge of the game and his contacts around the country are unlimited. Our players have a great opportunity to use his knowledge and his contacts to their advantage,” said Matt Ocello, St. Louis Jr. Blues Head Coach.
Luke Gassett, Scout
Luke Gassett began his coaching career assisting head coach Matt Ocello with the St. Louis Eagles U11 CSDHL team.
Gassett played collegiately at Lindenwood University (ACHA II), where he appeared in 125 games over four years, tallying 107 points (36 G, 71 A), sitting at 12th all-time. During his time at Lindenwood, the team appeared in four straight ACHA II National Tournaments, including two Final Fours and the only National Championship game appearance in team history in 2018. Gassett was selected twice as an ACHA Academic All-American in 2020 and 2021. He played a fifth year at the University of Mississippi (CHF) while earning a Master of Accountancy. He appeared in 19 games, scoring 28 points.
As a youth, Gassett played primarily for Affton Hockey. He was a member of the 1998 Affton CSDHL team and in 2013 Gassett played on the Affton Americans U14 CSDHL team coached by Matt Ocello that won the Tier II USA Hockey National Championship. He played two more seasons for Ocello at the U18 level, earning a 3rd place U18 finish at the USA Hockey National Championships. In 2017, Gassett was the captain of the U18 AIC Prospects team, also coached by Matt Ocello.
Luke is a graduate of St. Louis University High School. He was a four-year varsity starter, playing in three Challenge Cup finals. As a senior, he captained the team that earned the program’s first Challenge Cup top overall seed in 46 years. Gassett appeared in 90 games, totaling 138 points (68 G, 70 A). In 2020, he was one of three forwards selected to the St. Louis Post Dispatch 1st Team All-Decade.
“Growing up and playing at Affton, I know the tradition and pride around the Jr. Blues program. It is an honor to be involved with such an historic team and help players achieve their goals,” Gassett said about his new position with the Jr. Blues.
“Luke will be a great asset to the St. Louis Jr. Blues Program. Growing up as a player with Affton Youth Hockey, Luke is very familiar with the program and understands the types of players that we are looking to add to our team. He understands the expectations that we have for our players both on-ice and off-ice,” said Ocello.
Recruitment and Main Camp
The Hockey Operations team continues to add players to the roster for the 2023-2024 season. Our June Prospects Tryout Camp was successful with players from across the country attending to learn more about the opportunities provided by the Jr. Blues Program. Our Main Camp starts on August 11, 2023 at the Affton Ice Rink. Announcements about player signings, main camp and staff additions will be posted on www.stljrblues.org and on team social media channels.
About the Jr. Blues
The St. Louis Jr. Blues are a Tier III Junior A ice hockey team in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL). Based out of the Affton Ice Rink, the St. Louis Jr. Blues organization has been part of St. Louis hockey for more than 30 years and has won five USA Hockey National Championships. Notable alumni include current and former NHL players Paul Stastny, Yan Stastny, Brandon Bollig, Chris Butler, Joe Vitale, Travis Turnbull and Cal Heeter. For more information, visit www.stljrblues.org.