New Ulm head coach Stepan accepts position in NAHL
The New Ulm Steel of the NA3HL have announced that head coach Zach Stepan has accepted the position of Assistant Coach with the Aberdeen Wings in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) beginning with the upcoming 2021-22 season.
A native of Hastings, MN, he will join new head coach Steve Jennings on the Wings bench.
Stepan spent one year with the NAHL, serving as an assistant coach for the Chippewa Steel during the 2018-19 season. He has spent the last two years as the head coach with the New Ulm Steel in the NA3HL in 2019-20 and 2020-21. During those two seasons with New Ulm, Stepan's record was 38-42-7.
“I’m really excited to come to Aberdeen,” he said. “What they’ve been able to build is nothing short of extraordinary. They have an ownership group that takes care of their own and the fans are behind the team. I’ve been looking forward to that. I haven’t really been a part of a fan base that’s as big as it is there. I’m excited to be a staple in the community.”
Stepan played high school hockey at the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary’s, where he put up 129 points in 104 games and won back-to-back National Championships in his junior and senior years. He played one season for the Waterloo Blackhawks in the USHL, posting 78 points in 56 games during the 2012-13 season. He followed that with four years at Minnesota State-Mankato.
After college, Stepan played one season in the ECHL with the Orlando Solar Bears before he retired due to concussion-related injuries.
He was the leading scorer for the USA U17 team that captured gold in the Five Nations Tournament in Switzerland in 2010. Stepan was also a member of the USA U19 team that captured gold in the World Junior A Championship in Nova Scotia in 2012. He was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 4th round, 112th overall, in the 2012 draft. Finally, he was a member of the U20 USA World Junior team in Sweden in 2013.
Stepan said he’s excited to move to the Hub City to continue a winning tradition.
“What you guys have built is incredible and we have big shoes to fill, and I’m excited to come in,” he said. “It’s a program both players and coaches want to be a part of. It’s a first-class organization.”
He’s also looking forward to working with Jennings as they dive into their first season together.
“Steve has shown that he’s been a big part of getting players to Aberdeen,” he said. “He’s a trained veteran and I’m excited to learn more about that. But when the players are on the ice, that’s when I’m at my best.”