Coaching Staff

    Mark Carlson

President, Head Coach and General Manager

Mark Carlson has been the RoughRiders' Head Coach and General Manager since the team arrived in Cedar Rapids.  The RoughRiders won the Clark Cup in 2004-05 and the Anderson Cup in both 2004-05 and 2010-11.  Carlson was also named the USHL Coach of the Year in both 2004-05 and 2010-11. Carlson also earned his 500th USHL victory in 2014-15.

Carlson has had the honor of serving as head coach for Team USA during the 2008 and 2009 World Junior A Challenge.  Both years, Team USA won the Gold Medal.  In 2009, Carlson was also recognized as the United States Olympic Committee Development Coach of the Year.

Over (250) players who have skated for Carlson have received Division I scholarships, (24) have been selected in the National Hockey League Draft, (28) have signed NHL contracts, (45) are developing in the minor leagues and (14) have made their NHL debuts.

In 2012, Mark expanded his resposibilities within the RoughRider Hockey Club to become President of the USHL Cedar Rapids RoughRiders while retaining his role as the only Head Coach and General Manager in the history of the RoughRider franchise.   

Carlson also oversees the coordination of coaching activities within the RoughRider Hockey Club as it has added affiliate relationships with the Cedar Rapids Youth Hockey Association, Cedar Rapids High School RoughRiders, Rocky Mountain AAA RoughRiders of the East Coast Elite League, the Connecticut Oilers of the Eastern Hockey League and the Topeka RoadRunners of the North American Hockey League.      

A native of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, Carlson graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell with a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing. While at Lowell, Carlson skated as a forward with the River Hawks. His on-ice talent was recognized even before he arrived in Lowell when he was selected in the 1987 National Hockey League draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After graduating from UML, Carlson spent one season as an assistant coach at Lawrenceville School before returning to Lowell to serve as an assistant to head coach Bruce Crowder. After helping the River Hawks to a berth in the 1996 NCAA tournament, Carlson spent another three seasons beside Crowder as an assistant at Northeastern University in Boston, where he also acted as recruiting coordinator. He earned a master's degree in education from N.U.

Carlson and his wife Tammy currently live in Ely with sons Dustin and Brayton.


  Shane Connelly

Shane Connelly - Assistant Coach

Shane joined the USHL RoughRiders in the 2014-15 season.  He brings his experience as a junior, collegiate and professional player and college coaching to the RoughRiders.

Prior to college, the former goaltender played junior hockey for two seasons with the Chicago Steel (USHL) where he posted a record of 34-30-4 in 74 appearances. Connelly played four seasons of collegiate hockey at the University of Wisconsin (WCHA) from 2005 to 2009. His career goals-against average (2.39), save percentage (.913), and shutout total (eight) each rank top five in Badgers history. Recording 19 of his 41 career victories as a senior in 2008-09, Connelly also won three games as a freshman backup during Wisconsin’s run to the NCAA Championship in 2005-06.   
After graduating from Wisconsin in 2009 with a degree in Communications, Connelly joined the ECHL as a member of the Johnstown Chiefs.   Over parts of two seasons in the ECHL, Connelly split time between the Johnstown Chiefs, South Carolina Stingrays, Elmira Jackals, Trenton Devils, and Utah Grizzlies. In 74 ECHL appearances, Connelly compiled a record of 25-30-11 including five shutouts, with a 3.14 goals-against average and 0.900 save percentage. 
The Cheltenham, Pennsylvania native now currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.



 Doug Leaverton

Assistant Coach

Doug , a native of Painesville, Ohio, started his RoughRiders career as a defenseman during the 2007-2009 seasons. After attending Colorado College studying economics, he joined the Riders as a volunteer for the 2013-14 season.  In the 2014-15 season Doug has was promoted to an Assistant Coach with the USHL RoughRiders.  Doug will be involved in all aspects of the Roughriders program, on and off the ice.  



    Chris Ipson, MA, ATC, LAT, ASCM

Certified Athletic Trainer and Equipment Manager

Chris Ipson joined the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders as part of the St. Luke's Hospital Sports Medicine team in August 2011. He spent the last 23 years with Michigan Tech University after spending the previous four years as Head Athletic Trainer for the New Jersey Devils of the NHL. All together, Ipson has spent the last 32 years working Division I and professional ice hockey. Chris has also worked on five occasions covering teams for USA Hockey, traveling throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. Ipson is also a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and an instructor for the American Heart Association.


   Janelle Banowetz

    JoAnn Perez

Housing Coordinators

Janelle Banowetz & JoAnn Perez are the RoughRiders' Housing Coordinators.

They are responsible for seeking living accommodations that meet both the players' needs and match the profile of a family in the local Cedar Rapids area. Both act as liaisons with Washington & Linn Mar High Schools for the RoughRider student players.

The RoughRiders housing program is committed to a mutually beneficial experience for both the athlete and the host family.  Athletes range in age from 16-20 years old and come from all over North America and other countries to become part of one of the finest junior hockey programs in the country.

The USHL experience begins in the home of the housing families:


If you are interested in possibly housing a RoughRider, please contact Janelle Banowetz at 319-533-5345 or by e-mail at  or  JoAnn Perez at 319-360-0530 or by e-mail at 

In addition to her housing responsibilities, Banowetz works part-time for Banowetz Consulting.  Janelle and her husband Doug have two sons.  Bryan who is currently attending Luther College and Nick at home.  The Banowetz family have been housing RoughRiders since the 2009 season.

In addition to her housing responsibilities, Perez works full-time at GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation, where she is an HR Specialist in Training & Development. JoAnn is also involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

JoAnn and her husband Gary have two daughters. Tara and husband Jairo have twin boys, Christian and Nicholas, and Leah who is currently attending St. Ambrose University. The Perez family have been housing RoughRiders since the 2001 season.


Housing Family Requirements

  • Desire to support the Roughrider's Program

  • Live within a reasonable distance to The Stable

  • Demonstrate well-balanced, family-oriented lifestyle

  • Provide physically comfortable and mentally supportive and nurturing environment for our hockey players.

Housing Family Benefits

  • A monthly housing stipend of $200 to help offset costs

  • Two free season tickets and two additional tickets for household members at 50% off

  • Merchandise discount

  • A great opportunity to build a life-long relationship and help a young person realize their dreams


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