Chippewa Falls (WQOW) -- Most of the pieces are finally in place for the Chippewa Valley's new NAHL team.
The Chippewa Steel announced this Monday that Al Rooney will be the team's first head coach and general manager, and there are just two weeks left before Pre-Draft camp gets underway. With all that in mind, the focus now shifts towards the product that the Steel are putting on the ice, and they hope for a mix of competitive play, and family fun.
"Our mission - and that of probably seventy percent of the guys that put on a Steel uniform - their goal is to go play Division 1 hockey," says Vice President of Operations Bryant Black, "The Janesville Jets have a kid named Jordan Steinmetz who was kind of one of the top players in the area. That's the type of quality hockey player that you're going to get when you're coming to our games. And then win or lose, you're going to have fun. We're going to put a type of entertainment out there that is similar to the Express and they kind of operate on similar levels, but we want to be involved within the community and create a culture that the community can be proud of simply help grow the game of hockey."
In their final year as the Coulee Region Chill, the team won only 17 games, so coach Rooney has no qualms about updating the roster, "There's guys that have to be prepared to earn their way back onto this team. I obviously have some guys that I plan on bringing in already in mind that I know can step in and contribute, and then there's always keeping an open mind on some of the diamond in the roughs that you're going to find that are going to surprise you, or are going to slip through the cracks and present themselves at our tryout camps throughout the summer and at main camp. We do want a healthy mix of returning players to augment the youth that I plan on bringing in."
The Steel's Pre-Draft camp begins on May 25th. Open Tryouts kick off on June 8th.