The Owatonna Express has announced that Chuck Linkenheld has been named the team’s head coach and general manager. He replaces Pat Cullen, who has accepted a coaching position with St. Olaf College (MIAC).
This past season, Linkenheld served at the head coach and general manager of the Albert Lea Thunder. He guided the team to the playoffs for the first time in the program’s history and also helped develop eight of his players for college hockey.
“I’m excited to be with Owatonna,” Linkenheld said. “I’m familiar with the NAHL and the division. I want to thank Coach Cullen for the foundation he’s set here with the organization as well as with the veteran players, tendered players and drafted players and wish him the all the success at the college level.”
Linkenheld has been active in hockey at all levels as both a player and a coach. A native of Illinois, he played junior hockey for the Chicago Minor Hawks and went on to play at Merrimack College in Massachusetts where he became captain his senior year.
His coaching career began back in Illinois and he brings more than 20 years of experience with him, along with a dedication to developing players to reach their full potential.
To go along with Linkenheld’s hockey background is his extensive business acumen. He earned his degree in Business Management from Merrimack and has worked in sales and management for many years. He will be bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Express business office.
“There’s a winning tradition set here that I plan on continuing,” said Linkenheld. “I’m looking forward to meeting with the players, fans and community in order to take the Owatonna Express to new levels of success, on and off the ice.”
In his four years coaching the Express, Cullen led the team to one NAHL Central Division title, four Central Division playoff berths and two third-place finishes at the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament. He also helped move over 25 of his players on to college hockey.