Aafke Loney is the Founder, Owner and President of Business and Education Connected, B.E. Connected.
Originally from Foremost, Alberta, Canada, Aafke was raised on a grain farm on the prairies. Her parents were Dutch immigrants. She attended college at Dordt University in Sioux Centre, Iowa and graduated with a degree in social work. Aafke got her start in sports when she married Troy Loney, a professional hockey player. She was involved with professional hockey and NHL organizations including the Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders and the New York Rangers over the next 10 years.
After September 11, 2001, she along with her husband Troy became American citizens. She was then elected to the local school board, which triggered a return to university where she received her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA. After her school board term ended, she became an entrepreneur and founded Business and Education Connected, B.E. Connected. Her experience on the school board had revealed a disconnect between the type of worker company’s need and the type of worker educational institutions were producing. Her focus on career coaching and internship development assisted in alleviating the disconnect for both individuals and companies. During this time Aafke also co-founded “Women on the Edge of Glory” a quarterly women’s breakfast series, and for two years used this platform to connect women business owners, non-profit leaders and stay at home moms.
In March 2014 Aafke along with her husband Troy, had the opportunity to return to hockey by becoming co-owners of the Youngstown Phantoms Hockey Team, part of the United States Hockey League (USHL). During their first year of ownership the hockey team won the Anderson Cup, and in 2017-18 for the first time in franchise history were Clark Cup Finalists.
Aafke became the first female to have ownership of an USHL team. She was an active participant in USHL owners meetings consisting of 17 top Tier 1 Junior teams and in 2017-18 she was the USHL Committee Marketing Chair. Her roles at the Youngstown Phantoms included business and game day operations, sales, community outreach, assisting with hockey operations and marketing. During her time in Youngstown she was involved with the Youngstown Business Incubator Women in Entrepreneurship Steering Committee, taught at Youngstown State University and Introduced, collaborated and assisted with bringing the National Hockey League (NHL) Pittsburgh Penguins Dek Hockey Rink to Mill Creek Park.
After the sale of the team in 2018, Aafke returned her focus to Business & Education Connected, B.E. Connected. Her acquired hockey and business acumen further enhanced and expanded her career coaching and internship programs for athletes, retired athletes, students, post college individuals and businesses.
Troy and Aafke have four children and have been married for over 30 years.
"I would recommend Mrs. Loney and Business Education Connected to any student in college or recent college graduate that is about to begin their job search. It will do nothing but help you and motivate you to take charge of getting your professional career started. "
"Business and Education Connected (BE) is and incredible program that is guiding me to success every day. From BE, I was able to find my passion and love for a future career. I could not be more thankful for Aafke’s help and the opportunities she has provided me with."
"Not only was the program both valuable and insightful, but Aafke’s direct feedback for real-world implementation and continuous support throughout the activities was invaluable. She has a passionate and value-driven teaching method that pushed me to a new level. I thoroughly recommended BE Connected."
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