Ryan Cruthers Named Head Coach of USHL's Chicago Steel
GENEVA, ILLINOIS - The Chicago Steel announced Tuesday that the team has named Ryan Cruthers permanent Head Coach and has removed the interim tag, effective immediately. Cruthers becomes the 11th head coach in Steel history. Contract terms were not disclosed.
Cruthers was named Interim Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Jan. 2 and guided the Steel to the USHL postseason and a First Round series victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks last week. In addition, Cruthers has furthered the development of Steel players with 19 players currently committed to NCAA Division I schools. Cruthers has also led several community initiatives including the team's Live Strong as Steel school assembly program and multiple volunteering efforts including the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva and Ronald McDonald House Charities in Winfield.
"On the ice, on the bench, in the team room and in the Chicagoland and hockey communities, Ryan has honored the Chicago Steel and the game with his work ethic and commitment, his knowledge and passion, his positive attitude and strength of character," said Steel owner Larry Robbins. "We are grateful that Ryan's leadership has led the Steel back to the second round of the USHL playoffs as we continue to defend our title as Clark Cup Champions and National Champions of Tier 1 Junior Hockey in the United States."
Cruthers, 33, joined the Steel following nearly two seasons as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Charlotte Rush (USPHL), compiling a record of 66-7-3 and leading the team to a USPHL Championship last season.
"I am honored and excited to be the Head Coach of the Chicago Steel moving forward," said Cruthers. I would like to thank Larry Robbins, (Steel President) Dan Lehv and the entire organization for this opportunity. The Steel are a first-class organization and I look forward to continuing the tradition of player development, advancement and the pursuit of the Clark Cup."
Prior to coaching, Cruthers spent eight seasons playing professionally in the American Hockey League and the ECHL. He retired as the Reading Royals all-time leading scorer and was an ECHL All-Star in 2008. He played college hockey at the United States Military Academy (Army) followed by two seasons at Robert Morris University. Cruthers resides in St. Charles and his wife, Julie, and their two sons, Blake and Brady, are in the process of relocating to the Fox Valley.
Additionally, the Steel Tuesday announced the resignation of General Manager Ryan Bennett. Bennett had served in the role since June 2015 and was successful in building the Steel roster that qualified for the playoffs in 2016-2017 for the first time in nine seasons and went on to win the organization's first Clark Cup Championship.
"Ryan was instrumental in helping to build a championship-caliber roster during his time with the Steel as evidenced by last year's Clark Cup Championship and this year's playoff team," said Steel President Dan Lehv. "We're thankful for his efforts over the last three seasons and wish him great success moving forward."
Vice President of Hockey Operations Vinny Smith has assumed the interim General Manager duties and will oversee the team's USHL Draft in May.
Cruthers will be behind the bench this Thursday night as the Steel continue their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against Team USA. The Steel will host Game 3 on Thursday, April 26, and Game 4 on Friday, April 27.
Fans are encouraged to visit the Playoff Hub on ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com for game dates, times, results, and ticket information throughout the 2018 Clark Cup Playoffs. All Steel playoff game broadcasts will be carried live on Mixlr (free audio) and HockeyTV (iPPV). For broadcast links and information, visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com/broadcast. For Steel tickets or more information, call 855-51-STEEL, stop by the Box Office at Fox Valley Ice Arena or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.
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