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Chicago Steel are passing the torch onto their young guys for 2022-23 season

"We're a young team who seem to keep getting younger," said general manager and head coach Mike Garman. Not only are the young guys coming in great hockey players, but they're hungry to get better making the staff excited about the team at hand.

Zam Plante Chicago Steel-1600x900.jpg
Zam Plante of the Chicago Steel is one of the many players with USHL ties who is taking part in NHL development camps. Plante was selected 150 overall at the 2022 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Contributed / Chicago Steel

CHICAGO — The Chicago Steel have been an organization that has been a top landing spot for some of the top prospects to play junior hockey. That has paid off not only with their two Clark Cup championships in the last five years, but also with how they have developed and advanced their players. This year they have a new crop of talent that has them excited for what could happen during the 2022-23 season.

"We are a young team and seem to keep kind of getting younger," said Chicago Steel general manager and head coach Mike Garman. "There's several players that yeah we're excited about their ability and their talent level but I think we're also just excited about how hungry these guys are. How excited they are to be here and work and get better and develop. As a whole, I think we're really excited about the group."

The young center is projected to be a top-three selection in the 2023 NHL Draft. Recently completing his junior hockey career with the Chicago Steel this past season, Fantilli will be playing for the University of Michigan this fall.

Garman also mentioned the main focus is developing their players, and they trust the results will follow on the ice. With this being a developmental league, year in and year out you are turning over half of your roster and welcoming in new guys. Last year Adam Fantilli was the big name in Chicago, and now that he's moved on to play Division I hockey at the University of Michigan, it's time for other guys to rise up.

"I think that's what's awesome about here is our older guys are the best teachers for our younger guys," said Garman. "Because it's a development basis other guys have had power play reps in addition to Adam Fantilli. Other guys watched him maybe and learned from him, and he learned from Sean Farrell , and he learned from Nick Abruzzese , so there is this very cool pipeline and passing of the torch and so we're always ready for guys to step up and I think that's why we want to develop every player."

2021-22 SEASON
Last season former Steel head coach Brock Sheahan led the team to a 39-13-0-10 record. Jackson Blake led the team in assists with 50 and also led the team in points with 77. Adam Fantilli was second on the team in points with 74, but led the squad in goals with 37. The Steel entered the Clark Cup playoffs as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but were upset in the second round by the Madison Capitols.

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OFF-SEASON CHANGES

  • Brock Sheahan left the organization and is now taking over as head coach of the Chicago Ice Wolves in the AHL
  • Mike Garman stepped in as head coach after Sheahan's departure and will continue to serve as the organization's general manager

KEY PLAYERS

  • Macklin Celebrini was tendered by the Chicago Steel back in April. The 16-year-old is pinned as a top prospect in the 2024 NHL Draft and is coming to the Steel this season with high expectations. Last season he played for Shattuck St. Mary's 18U Prep, and totaled 50 goals and 67 assists for 117 points in 52 games played.
  • Michael Hage was tendered by the Steel for this season. Last year he played with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16 AAA where he put up 46 goals and 70 assists for 116 points in only 57 games.
  • Jayden Perron is entering his second season with the Steel. Last year he had 17 goals and 28 assists for 45 total points in 60 games. He is a prospect eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft.
  • Jake Livanavage is a veteran entering his second year with the Steel. Last season he had three goals and 42 assists for 45 points in 61 games.
  • Nick Moldenhauer was drafted in the third round and 95th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2022 NHL Draft. Returning to Chicago for another season, he is a veteran who is expected to bring experience and leadership to the team. Last year he battled an injury that kept him off the ice for a good chunk of the first half of the season, but when he returned he had 18 goals and 25 assists for 43 points in 41 games.

ARENA NOTES
The Chicago Steel play at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, Illinois. The Steel have called this home since 2015 after playing at Edge Ice Arena in nearby Bensenville.

The Chicago Steel will begin their season on Sept. 22 against the Fargo Force at the Dick's Sporting Goods Fall Classic in Pittsburgh.

Related Topics: USHLCHICAGO STEEL
Kirsten Krull covers juniors and prospects for The Rink Live. She is a 2020 St. Cloud State graduate, and has been working in the hockey world for over six years, covering many levels of the game from juniors to the NHL.
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