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Bromberg adjusts in player-to-coach transition for Steel

NEW ULM — Last season at this time, Erick Bromberg was a defenseman for the New Ulm Steel.

Now Bromberg has made the transition from the ice to the bench as an assistant coach for the Steel and handling defensemen.

“It has been a success in my opinion,” Bromberg said about from going from a player to a coach. “It is nice seeing the game from the coach’s point of view because now you see a lot more from behind the bench than you do on the ice.”

Bromberg played four years of high school hockey at Rochester John Marshall. He then began his NA3HL career with Granite City before being traded to the Steel.

New Um hosts West Division-leading Granite City at 7:10 p.m. Friday night at the New Ulm Civic Center.

“I have gotten along really well with all of the guys,” Bromberg said. “With the returners (who he played with last year), it was hard at the beginning to separate that, but now being a month and a half into a season, we have smoothed things out really well.”

He said that being close to the same age as the players can seem strange at times.

“At some point I feel like I am their older brother,” Bromberg said. “But then there are times when we all realize that I am not your older brother, but I am your coach. They know when I am mad and they listen — we have gotten that point across early in the season.”

Another adjustment that Bromberg has had to make comes off of the ice.

“The business side of it is something that you do not see as a player,” Bromberg said.

Bromberg said that the footprint of good defense in hockey is positioning.

“It is a lot of positioning,” Bromberg said. “You can go through film and it is just the little things that make a defenseman from being good to great.

“And it is a lot of communication on the ice. You need to know where you need to be when the puck is at the point or the puck is down at the hashmarks. It is all in positioning.”

Bromberg said that there have been times where his defensemen have done everything right on the ice. “But they scored because it was just a good shot,” he said. “Then there is no one really to blame. After each game, myself and Curtis (Doell, Steel head coach) will go through film and dissect it and see what really happened.”

During the games when defensemen come off of the ice, Bromberg said he does not want to be in their ears 24-7 and just wants them to go out and play.

In today’s age in hockey, Bromberg said it is more about being an ‘offensive defenseman.’

“I was a defensive defenseman, so I wanted to stay back and hold down the fort,” he said. “But we are also the ones who can create offense from the back end. And when a team pulls their goalie for an extra attacker because they are down a goal late, we are the ones who need to make the stop.”

Bromberg said that four years from now, he would like to still be coaching hockey.

“And I am currently in school going for an Associates Business Degree so I would maybe do something that includes hockey and Business Management.”

STEEL NOTES: Karen Haala is the Marketing and Game Day Director for the Steel, so any business that wants to sponsor a game can call Haala at 507-276-2063. Friday night at the Civic Center is also “Sarcoma Cancer Awareness Night.” Dana Barry, the mother of Steel player Bauer Barry, has cancer, so a special ‘Silent Auction’ for jerseys will be held with all proceeds going to her.

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