Hockey Operations


Steve Howard – President of Hockey Operations/Head Coach

Howard is entering his fourth season at the helm of the Bruins in 2020-21. He became the third head coach in Bruins history on May 1st, 2017 after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant coach for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL.

In his first three seasons at the helm in Austin, Howard has led the Bruins to a 93-57-0-21 record, and to back-to-back playoff berths. In 2019-20, the Bruins were poised to make their third straight playoff run under Howard but the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2017-18, Howard was named the Central Division Coach of the Year by the NAHL, becoming the first head coach in Bruins history to achieve the honor.

Howard was recognized as the NA3HL Coach of the Year after leading the Flint Junior Generals to the circuit’s Eastern Division championship and USA Hockey’s Tier III National Junior Tournament in 2014.  Over two seasons with the Junior Generals, Howard owned a regular-season record of 69-21-4.

Howard played professionally in the ECHL, SPHL, other domestic circuits, as well as in Europe and Asia from 2001 through 2008.  His first experience came as a player/assistant with the SPHL’s Columbus (GA) Cottonmouths in 2006/07.  After retirement as a player, his career in coaching and skill development including work with the Minnesota Advancement Program and Michigan’s STRIDA Hockey.

Justin Fisher – Assistant Coach

Justin Fisher begins his first season as an Assistant Coach with the Austin Bruins in 2020-21. Fisher comes to the Bruins after servingas an assistant coach for the Adrian Bulldogs club hockey team in 2019-20. The native of Flushing, MI, was also a five-year player for the Bulldogs as a player, serving as Assistant Captain in 2017-18 and Captain in 2018-19.

Prior to playing in college, Fisher competed in the NA3HL with the Flint Jr. Generals and was coached by Steve Howard. Under Howard’s leadership, Fisher logged 54 total points in 48 games playing for the Jr. Generals en route to a Fraser Cup appearance against the North Iowa Bulls.

A native of Michigan, Fisher now resides in Austin.


Scouting Department

Aaron Venasky – Director of Player Personnel/Assistant Coach

Aaron Venasky begins his fourth season with the Bruins in 2020-21after three successful seasons in which he helped Austin make the NAHL Central Division playoffs. Before coming to Austin, Venasky coached at Lakeville South High School where the Cougars were Section 1AA Champions and State Semi-Finalists in 2016 as well as Section Finalists in 2017. Venasky also served as Head Scout/Midwest Regional Scout with the Bismarck Bobcats for six seasons prior to coaching at Lakeville South.

Venasky is a native of Edmonton, Alberta, and grew up playing in Apple Valley, Minnesota. He competed for three seasons in the junior ranks for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL and the Billings Bulls of the former AWHL. After juniors, Venasky took his career to the collegiate level where he helped the University of Wisconsin- River Falls Falcons win three WIAC Championships. Venasky graduated from the University of Wisconsin- River Falls with a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis on Finance.

August Aiken – Scout

Jon Jepson – Scout

Rick Scero – Scout

Tyler Veen – Scout

Gene Zyla – Scout