Steel assistant uses passion for hockey to continue coaching

NEW ULM – New Ulm Steel assistant head coach Andrew Kolb has used his love of hockey to go many places and meet many people in his time involved in the sport.

“I started playing hockey in Ohio when I was 3 years old,” he said. “We traveled to Michigan – my home is right on the Michigan border – and I grew up playing in the Detroit area, I played in Toledo, and the Upper Pennisula.

“I played my sophomore and junior years at Toledo [Ohio] Central Catholic. Then I went to the Central States Hockey League, which is now the NA3HL. They had between 10-12 teams and now there are 48 teams. From there I went to the North American Hockey League [NAHL] and played for the Marquette Rangers.”

Kolb then tried out and made the United States Hockey League (USHL) team in Muskegon, Michigan. He did not stick around, playing three games before getting sent back to the NAHL with the Michigan Warriors.

With the Warriors, Kolb, a forward, scored 31 goals and added 34 assists, which led him to the UW-Stevens Point. There he played for the pointers for four years and earned his degree in sociology.

“I had some injures there,” he said. “I had back surgery after my freshman year but I got a full season in during my sophomore year.”

He tore his MCL the first game of his junior season, but played 30 games in during his senior season.

“We went to the NCAA [D-III] National Championship my junior and senior years and we lost,” Kolb said. “But the following year they won it.”

Kolb’s journey to becoming the Steel’s assistant coach this year began last year when he quit playing and started coaching a 12-and-under spring league team in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

“This summer I did not know what was going to happen as I was running out of time with hockey season coming up,” Kolb said. “The plan was for me to go back and coach the 12-and-under. But then Jay [Witta, Steel head coach] messaged me on Facebook but I did not see it because I did not go on facebook for a month.

“But then he got me on Linkedin and asked me if it was something that I was interested in – I said absolutely. I spent a week talking to him and Bryant [Black, Steel GM] and Steve [Black, Steel owner]. Everything sounded right and good and I thought that it was a great opportunity for me to get my coaching career started at this level and I am trying to get them to the next level and play college hockey.”

Kolb said that he wants to stay within the junior hockey level.

“I want to coach – I have my degree in sociology but hockey is my life,” Kolb said. “It was been my life forever. I do not want to do anything else.”