Steel roster features many new players this season

NEW ULM — Those who attend a New Ulm Steel hockey game this season need to be sure to grab a roster sheet at the games.

The only recognizable names that fans will remember on the roster is that of head coach Andrew Kolb and assistant coach Nick Campbell.

Other than that, fans are going to have to “get to know” the Steel players who had their first practice Wednesday at the New Ulm Civic Center.

“When Andrew and I were working on the team we kind of wanted to change the culture of the team,” Steel General Manager Bryant Black said. “We lost a lot of important players because of them being to old or going on to play college hockey. We have players in now from all over the country. Traditionally we have had kids from Minnesota and Wisconsin but now we have players from Tennessee and California along with three players from Europe. We wanted to expand the area we had been recruiting.”

One of the changes Steel fans will notice is in the goaltending. Gone is starter Ryan Kenny, who moved to the east coast with his family and backup Drew Schenkenberg who was traded to Willmar Tuesday.

Black said that trading Schenkenberg “was not easy. There was a very hard conversation that coach Kolb had with Drew.”

Schenkenberg was part of a trade that also sent Kirk Koppock and Jeff Bishop to Willmar for forward Jordan Cooper, who had 16 goals and 17 assists last year for Willmar.

New Ulm also received forward Keegan Bauman (12-22).

“Keehgan is a Minnesota kid and Jordan is from South Carolina,” Black said. “We want to play at a higher pace this year and those two bring that. You do not want to trade in your own division but when you can get players like Jordan and Keegan you have to weigh the pros and the cons. We lost over 350 points from last year but we added 80 in those two.”

With the departure of Kenny and Schrenkenberg in the goal in comes Henry Baribeau, who started for Wausau. Also, James Royce, who was drafted by the Steel this year out of Simley High School and Noah Frederich from Rochester join the team.

“We have three phenominal goalies and we feel we are confident that we have the best goaltending group in the (NA3HL),” Black said. “It was a strength for us last year and it will be again this year.”

Black, who saw his team finish 30-11-6 last season, felt that making the trade for Baribeau was right for everyone

“He (Baribeau) wanted a fresh start,” Black said. “He was one of the best goalies in the league last year playing for a team that really struggled.”