Hockey Operations

Coaches

Steve Howard - General Manager/Head Coach

steve@austinbruins.com

Steve-Howard-200x300

Howard is entering his second season at the helm of the Bruins in 2018-19. 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 season at the helm in Austin, Howard led the Bruins to a 33-19-4-4 record, and to their sixth Central Division Finals in eight seasons. The Bruins finished as the #2 seed in the Central and defeated the Minnesota Wilderness in four games to advance to the Championship round. Steve 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 coaching 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 included work with the Minnesota Advancement Program and Michigan’s STRIDA Hockey.

Keenan Kelly - Director of Player Personnel/Assistant Coach

keenan@austinbruins.com

AC Kelly

Keenan joined the Bruins staff in 2015 after spending the prior four seasons working for Northern Michigan University (NCAA-DI WCHA).  While at NMU, he served as the Student-Assistant Coach, Assistant Director of Hockey Operations, and Video Coordinator.  Before his time at NMU, Keenan, a native of Boise, Idaho, was an assistant coach for the Idaho Junior Steelheads in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) for two seasons (2009-11), winning the Thorne Cup in 2011.

Prior to starting his coaching career, Keenan played Bantam AAA and Midget AAA from 2005-07 while attending Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan.  During the 2007-08 season, Keenan was the first out of state captain in program history for the Pikes Peak Miners U16 AAA in Colorado Springs, Colo. and then suffered a career ending hip injury in the summer 2008.

Scouting Department

Aaron Venasky - Director of Scouting - aaron@austinbruins.com

Aaron Venasky begins his second season with the Bruins in 2018-19 after a successful 2017-18 season in which he helped Austin make the NAHL Central Division Finals. 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, now part of the NA3HL. 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.

Rick Scero - Scout

Gene Zyla - Scout