GENEVA, ILLINOIS — Chicago Steel Head Coach Dan Muse has been hired by the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators as an assistant coach. The Steel simultaneously announced the promotion of associate head coach Mark Abalan to the position of head coach.
Muse, who turns 35 today, heads to the NHL after leading the Steel to the 2016-2017 Clark Cup Championship, the first in team history. Under Muse, the Steel also set team records in 2016-2017 for wins (38) and points (81) while qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons and winning their first Eastern Conference title. 23 players from the 2016-2017 Championship roster have earned NCAA commitments.
Abalan takes over as Head Coach of the Steel after joining the organization last month as the team’s associate head coach. Abalan, who spent five years on the bench with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers from 2011-2016, served as a head coach of the Boys U16 team at the prestigious Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Faribault, Minnesota.
“We recruited Mark to join our staff as the heir apparent to Dan Muse knowing the likelihood that Dan would receive opportunities to coach professional hockey players in the near-future,” said Robbins. “Mark is passionate about hockey and his players, infuses pace and energy into practices and games, is a gifted tactician, has a thirst for knowledge and has a strong track record of elite player development. Mark’s knowledge of the USHL combined with his prior head coaching experience at a legendary hockey program position him for great success as we relentlessly pursue championships.”
Abalan, 41, led Shattuck St. Mary’s to a 41-10-4 record in 2016-2017 and an appearance in the USA Hockey U16 National Championship Game. He will be making his USHL head coaching debut this fall with the Steel.
“I'm grateful for this opportunity and thank Larry Robbins and the Steel organization for their belief in me," said Abalan. "I'm honored and excited to build upon the culture of winning that has been established by Coach Muse over the last two seasons. I can't wait to embark on this journey with our group and develop a team that competes and works every night.”
Abalan, his wife Missy, and their two daughters are in the process of relocating to Geneva.