The ‘17 in 17’ series features an in-depth look into all 17 NA3HL teams, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season on Saturday, September 8th. ‘17 in 17’ will go in-depth into each 3HL team and will include interview with all 17 3HL head coaches as they prognosticate and break down their outlook for the upcoming season.
Twin City Steel
Head Coach: Aaron Slagle
Assistant Coaches: Brian Tilton, Scott Cardinal
2011-12 Record: 24-21-3, 51 pts. – 3rd in West Division
Playoffs: Lost in the Division Semi-Finals to North Iowa, 2-0
2012-13 Division: West (2011-12 West)
Opening Night: Friday, September 28th vs. Minnesota Flying Aces – 7:45 pm at Vadnais Center (First game - September 15th at St. Louis)
Heading into their second year, the Twin City Steel are preparing for the upcoming season with a newly promoted head coach and power on the offense.
Over the summer, Aaron Slagle, Assistant Coach last year for the Steel, was promoted to Head Coach and General Manager of the team to turn things in the right direction. For this season, Slagle is looking for good leadership from the returning four veteran forwards to help mentor all the new young players. “The majority of the new players are coming in right from the high school level, so I’m looking for the veterans to introduce this brand of play to them fairly quickly so we have some success early on,” he said.
Returning to the Steel will be Marvin Powell, Shane Fabian, Brady Peterson and Kegan Storjohann. Storjohann, the leading scorer for Twin City last year will bring power to the front with his strength and determination to score. “I am excited to have our veterans back as they were a strong group last year as a first year team and contributed a lot to our success,” Slagle said.
Joining the returning forwards will be a skilled set of players coming from the high school and midget level. Forward, Marshall Cook will be brining in his experience and knowledge of the game from the Omaha AAA Lancers (Midget Majors) of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL). “Marshall came in from the NAPHL and we are working on getting him to the level we know he can play,” Slagle said. “He buries the puck and has a natural talent to just finish and that is something you can’t teach. I’m looking forward to Cook having some opportunities to score some big goals for us this year.”
Slagle also elaborated on the how the NAPHL prepares players for the next level of hockey. “The NAPHL is great. We are really starting to lean more to the AAA route. The players have a matureness to them after playing midgets and understand being away from home, traveling – the style of living, which can be hard for kids to adjust to. Cook being from this background is just more confident in the decisions he is making, he’s a smart kid. I credit that a lot to the NAPHL. He is above and beyond the maturity of his play and age.”
Joining Head Coach Slagle this year will be Assistant Coach Brian Tilton and Goalie Coach Scott Cardinal. All are setting the goal to work on player development and guiding players on where they need to be so they can get the promotion they deserve.
“We did not move as many players on as we would have liked to the next level, but with a bit of change within the organization, we plan on making this a top priority this season,” Slagle said.
Early on, the coaching staff will focus on helping the high school players adjust to the season lengths and style of play, something that most NA3HL teams work on at the start of each season. The Steel went for size in net, and Scott Cardinal has been working with the group of goalies to get them where they need to be. “We are looking for consistency, and we have it with these new goalies. They are a great core group. The competitive nature out of all of them is what we want, and we are seeking these qualities in all of them, right from the start,” Slagle said.
Joining the Twin City Steel in the West Division this year will be the Alexandria Blizzard and the Breezy Point North Stars. The Steel staff are positive about the two additional teams in the footprint and note that it only will strengthen the Division. “We were one of the strongest Divisions last year and it only ads to the intensity of the games and the rivalries we have. Alexandria has a great reputation and what they are going to bring to the table is beneficial to the league, as well as the great set up that Breezy Point as up north,” Head Coach said.
The Twin City Steel will begin their second season next weekend on the road against the St. Louis Jr. Blues of the Central Division.