AUSTIN, Minn. – The Austin Bruins have reached a contract extension with Head Coach/General Manager Steve Howard the team announced on Tuesday.
Howard, the 2017-18 NAHL Central Division Coach of the year, has a career record of 66-38-6-10 after two seasons at the helm of the Austin Bruins. Along with the extension, Howard’s role with the organization has increased to President of Hockey Operations with the added responsibility of overseeing aspects of the Rochester Grizzlies NA3HL team.
“I’m incredibly thankful to Craig Patrick and Mike Cooper for giving me the chance to coach the Bruins. They have been wonderful owners to work for and have continued to support me and believe in what our staff is doing,” said Howard.
After a professional playing career that spanned seven years and three continents, Howard broke into the full-time coaching ranks in 2012-13 with the Flint Jr. Generals of the NA3HL. In his final of two seasons with the Flint Jr. Generals, Howard was named the NA3HL Coach of the Year. The Burton, MI, native left Flint for the USHL where he joined the Waterloo Blackhawks as an assistant coach. With the Blackhawks, Howard remained for three seasons before landing in Austin as the Head Coach/General Manager in 2017-18.
“We are excited about our continuing commitment to Steve. Over the past 2 years, Steve has led the Bruins Hockey organization with great skill both on and off the ice. Steve’s attention in all aspects of the business have made him a great part of our team,” commented Bruins Founder Craig Patrick.
Bruins co-owner Mike Cooper elaborated, “We are very excited with the progress we’ve made as an organization under Steve’s leadership and look forward to continued improvement.”
With Howard as Head Coach, the Austin Bruins have made the Robertson Cup Playoffs in back-to-back seasons. The team clinched their spot in this year’s postseason this past weekend with a win over the Brookings Blizzard.
“I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing support staff including fellow coaches Keenan Kelly and Al Rooney, as well as the front office members both past and present. It’s been great to coach in front of the Austin Bruins fans and work alongside our billet families and sponsors, I truly enjoy coming to work every day. Without their support and hard work, the Austin Bruins wouldn’t exist and I look forward to continuing those relationships,” Howard went on to say.
The Bruins begin a stretch of five-straight games on the road, beginning this weekend in Bismarck against the division-rival Bobcats. Despite having already clinched a playoff spot, most of the NAHL Central division seeding is up for grabs. Austin returns to Riverside Arena on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 for their final home-games and to wrap up the regular-season portion of their schedule. Tickets for those games go on sale Monday, April 1 at all the Bruins vendors including Games People Play, Hy-Vee, Holiday Inn, and Jim’s Marketplace.