For many young hockey players in the United States, getting noticed by top junior teams can be a daunting task. With so much competition and limited spots available, it takes a combination of talent, hard work, and luck to secure a coveted spot on a team’s roster. However, one team in particular has found a way to consistently attract top high school talent – the Chicago Steel.
With a winning tradition and a strong developmental program, the Chicago Steel has become a top destination for young hockey players looking to take their game to the next level. In this article, we’ll explore how the Steel has built such a successful recruiting powerhouse and what makes them stand out in the highly competitive junior hockey landscape.
A Successful Developmental Program
At the heart of the Chicago Steel’s success is their commitment to player development. The team’s coaching staff, led by head coach Greg Moore, focuses on developing each player’s individual skills and creating a strong team dynamic. This approach has produced exceptional results, with the team winning the USHL Clark Cup championship in both 2017-18 and 2019-20.
But it’s not just about winning championships – the Steel also prioritize helping their players reach the next level. Since their inception in 2000, the team has had over 225 players go on to play Division 1 college hockey, and 20 players have been drafted to the NHL. This track record of success is a major selling point for young players looking to join the Steel.
Building Strong Relationships with High School Programs
The Chicago Steel has also established strong relationships with high school hockey programs in the area. This has allowed them to closely monitor talented players from an early age and build a rapport with them and their families. As a result, when these players are ready to make the jump to junior hockey, the Steel are often the first team on their list.
Another benefit of these relationships is that it allows the Steel to work closely with high school coaches to ensure that players are developing in the right areas. This collaboration creates a seamless transition for players from high school to junior hockey, and ultimately helps them become better players in the long run.
A Culture of Excellence
The Chicago Steel are well known for their winning culture and strong team chemistry. This is largely due to the team’s emphasis on building character and leadership qualities in their players. The Steel’s leadership and development program helps players develop their leadership skills both on and off the ice, creating not just strong athletes, but well-rounded individuals.
Having a strong culture of excellence is also attractive to top high school players, who are drawn to teams with a winning mentality and strong work ethic. This focus on character has paid off for the Steel, with their players going on to play at top colleges and in the NHL.
A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
In recent years, the Chicago Steel have also made a commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in their organization. This has included the creation of a Steel for All program, which aims to provide opportunities for underrepresented groups in hockey. This commitment to diversity not only helps the team attract a wider pool of talented players, but it also creates a positive and inclusive environment for everyone involved.
In addition, the team’s founding family, the McKennas, are committed to giving back to the community. Through their charitable arm, the Chicago Steel Foundation, they have donated over $1 million to various causes, including supporting local youth hockey programs and providing scholarships for players in need.
The Chicago Steel’s success in attracting top high school talent shows no signs of slowing down. With a winning tradition, a strong developmental program, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion, they have solidified their place as one of the top teams in the USHL. As they continue to produce top players and make a positive impact in their community, the Steel will undoubtedly remain a top destination for young hockey players.