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Stepan expresses confidence in New Ulm Steel

NEW ULM — New Ulm Steel General Manager Brad Stepan was in New Ulm watching the Steel win their second straight game in a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Loons at the New Ulm Civic Center Saturday night.

“I am here to give the kids some confidence and let them know that the organization is behind them,” he said. “We have had some changes and a little bit of turmoil. And I wanted to let them know that ownership and myself are behind them.”

Stepan said that on the ice, this season has been one of rebuilding a roster.

“Definitely a rebuilding year and with the coaching change, Erick [Bromberg] is a lot younger and he brings a lot of energy. So far the response has been good and the kids are working hard.”

And there has been a lot of changes off of the ice in the shuffling and changes in the front office, more so than any other year.

“Ownership is counting on me to straighten it out,” Stepan said. “I have had to make some tough choices here, Curtis [Doell, former Steel head coach] did a great job but it did not work. So as an organization we needed to make a change and move forward. Over the last week I like what I see.”

And the front office has seen more changes in the past month than in years.

“We want to get some stability. We do not want to be doing this every year — we want to find that stability.”

When asked if the General Manager of the New Ulm Steel should live in New Ulm, Stepan said that ideally that would be great.

“If we could bring in a GM with experience, you are going to have to pay someone that and economically it does not make any sense for an NA3HL team,” he said. “I am also running the NAHL Chippewa team and I live in Woodbury so it is about an hour and 15 minutes a day for me to drive to Chippewa. I am not sure it is the end of the world. Ideally if it works out here and we take off the interim tag on Erick [Bromberg] job here maybe he could be our head coach and GM.”

Stepan said that the Steel have one more year remaining on the lease at the New Ulm Civic Center.

“We have not yet sat down with the City of New Ulm yet but we are excited to do that,” Stepan said. “I have some ideas that will help both the New Ulm Steel and the City of New Ulm. So hopefully after this season is over we will have some time to dig into that, And, yes, absolutely we are staying in New Ulm — we have no plans on moving the team. We just want to get some stability with our coach/General Manager.

“A huge help in this transition has been Karen Haala [Director of Marketing and Game Day Operations for the New Ulm Steel]. We brought her on board about four or five weeks ago and I do not know where we would be without here right now. She has been a big part of our getting stability back.”

The Steel will host Willmar at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Steel players will be wearing specialty jerseys for the Invisible Wounds Project that night and also on Saturday, December 11. Sponsors of the jerseys are DLC Manufacturing, Inc., Minnesota Valley Funeral Home and Citizen’s Bank. There will be a Silent Auction for them on December 11 with all proceeds going to the Invisible Wounds Project.

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