The Peoria Mustangs have a new head coach, and it’s someone who is familiar with the team.
By Brian Lester
Steve Ortman was named to the position July 12 and returns to the position he held during the 2013-14 season, when the Mustangs won the NA3HL Midwest Division championship.
“The opportunity came up to hop back into the mix of things and I jumped on it,” Ortman said.
Ortman spent last season with the Peoria Rivermen of the Southern Professional Hockey League, and previously worked as an assistant coach with the Mustangs for 13 years.
The Mustangs are coming off a second place finish in the Midwest Division and reached the division finals in the playoffs. Their schedule last season featured five of the eight teams that made it to the Silver Cup.
Ortman is looking forward to building a team that can be a contender in the league again this season.
“I’m a firm believer in skill and we will train like madmen,” Ortman said. “We also have a trainer for our off-ice program. We want to make our kids better and get them to the next level. Development is huge for us.”
Team President Paul Wayvon is thrilled about having Ortman back on board as the head coach. Ortman will also serve as the team’s general manager.
“The Peoria Mustangs are entering their 18th season of play of junior hockey, and Steve has played an important and integral part in virtually every one of those seasons,” Wayvon said. “We are extremely excited to have Steve lead the team as its head coach and general manager again this season.”
Ortman replaces Dave Karpa, who has decided to spend the 2017-18 season with his family in Minnesota and help his two sons pursue their hockey goals and objectives.
As for this season, Ortman is ready to help the team build off what it accomplished last year.
“I’m basically trying to turn over stones and get players for this year,” Ortman said. “I’ve been getting up with connections I’ve made over the years and we’ll go from there. I’m looking forward to it.”
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