24 in 24 Series: Coulee Region Chill
August 23, 2016
The 24 in 24 series features a look at all 24 teams in the NAHL for the 2016-17 season, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 24 in 24 looks into each NAHL team and will include video interviews with all 24 head coaches in the NAHL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the season, including taking a look at their strengths as a team and thoughts on the league. It will also take a look back on last season and how each team fared and what they accomplished.
Coulee Region Chill
Head Coach: Ryan Egan (1st year)
2015-16 record: 33-26-1, 67 pts. (4th in the Midwest Division)
2015-16 leading scorer: Dominik Florian (51 points)
2016 Playoffs: Lost to Fairbanks in the Midwest Division Semi-Finals, 3 games to 1
2016-17 Division: Midwest
First regular season game: Wednesday, September 21st vs. Odessa Jackalopes
Home opener: Saturday, October 22nd vs. Austin Bruins
A new chapter begins in Coulee Region as Ryan Egan will take the reigns behind the bench as the new head coach. It has been a long wait for Egan, who was named to the post all the way back on April 13th after then head AJ Degenhardt resigned. For the past two seasons, Egan was the head coach and general manager of the NA3HL’s La Crosse Freeze.
In each of those two seasons in the NA3HL, Egan led the Freeze to a spot in the NA3HL’s Silver Cup playoffs and improved the team’s record each season. This past season, the Freeze finished with a record of 32-15-0, which was good for 2nd place in the Central Division. After sweeping their divisional semi-final series against the Wisconsin Whalers, the Freeze fell in the Central Division Finals to the North Iowa Bulls. In addition, Egan was one of two coaches for the Central Division team at the 2016 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament.
He inherits a Chill team that has made the Robertson Cup Playoffs the past two seasons and had 24 players, including 13 this past season, commit to NCAA schools. “Ryan has worked very hard to create a winning atmosphere in our building with the Freeze and I know he will continue that same trend with the Chill. I also know Ryan will work tirelessly to get our players committed and to move them onto the next level,” stated Coulee Region Chill owner Michelle Bryant.
“I am grateful for my time spent in the NA3HL and the experience it has provided me, because it helped me become a better coach and build towards this season. I look forward to working with the players to accomplish a team goal of winning a Robertson Cup, as well as, providing them the individual outcomes that they are looking to achieve,” said Egan. “I think we are entering this season trying to take things day by day, but it is important for us to get off to a strong start.”
Getting off to that strong start will be a challenge in itself because the Chill spend the first month of the 2016-17 campaign on the road. The Chill open the season at the NAHL Showcase with games against Odessa, Topeka, Lone Star and Aberdeen. “I will be important that we are playing well out of the gate because we have a very tough schedule to begin the season and the first month is spent on the road. I think our division is as tough as it comes, so we will have to be ready to play. We just want to get better every day we step onto the ice,” said Egan. “We have to set ourselves up so that we are peaking come playoff time.”
With 13 commitments this past season, Egan said that putting players in NCAA programs is something that is a top priority for the team. “The league is continuing to get better and improve each season, so it is vital for us to take advantage of this time and really work hard to develop our players to advance to the next level. The exposure for our athletes is at an all-time high and an event like the NAHL Showcase is proof of that. To have that type of exposure and event early in the year is critical to identify players, both for scouts and us coaches. Everything about it is professional, which makes it something we look forward to every season,” said Egan.
Egan continued… “There is an all-time demand for players to want to play in the NAHL. That is because of the skill level, the dedication of the ownership, the fans and the way that the league is run in such and professional manner. It gives them their true first taste of the big time and the fact that they have to perform and develop in order to advance.”
“I want us to be a hard-working team that plays with a tremendous pace and play fast. We have to be tough to play against,” said Egan. “Most of all, I want everyone to have a great experience with this team. People in this area are very family-oriented and know a lot about hockey. They are passionate about the team and I think we provide a great experience for our players. We truly feel like one big family, which is inclusive of our host families who open up their homes to our players.”
Next up in the 24 in 24 series: Fairbanks Ice Dogs