The Phoenix Knights are proud to announce the hiring of Colten St. Clair as the team’s new Head Coach and General Manager. St. Clair spent the 2016-17 season as an assistant coach with the Knights.
St. Clair said, “To be named the head coach is a huge honor and very humbling. I am a young coach, but I strive to move players to the next level and want to make the players better.”
Born and raised in Gilbert, Arizona, Colten St. Clair has an impressive hockey resume at the age of 24. He played more than 150 games with the USHL’s Fargo Force over three seasons, before heading to the University of North Dakota to play collegiately. During his days at UND, St. Clair was part of three Frozen Four teams and won an NCAA Championship.
As a first-year head coach, St. Clair is tasked with taking his success on the ice and turning it into success behind the bench, but he’s up for the challenge. He said, “I played for lots of great coaches. I plan on taking the different styles of those coaches, creating a style for myself and turn it into something that works best for the organization.”
Phoenix will turn to St. Clair to bring back the organization’s strong winning tradition. He said, “I want players that will come in and help turn this into a winning program again, and in order for that to happen, these players are going to have to strive to become better players and move onto the next level. If they want to play at the next level, they will get treated that way. The players will get a good taste of USHL and NCAA play style when they come and play for the Knights.”
One way that St. Clair will turn the Knights back into a winning program is his work ethic. It’s the same work ethic that caught the eyes of NHL scouts during his playing days at Fargo and University of North Dakota. He said, “Work ethic is something that can get you places in life and in hockey. You can teach skill, but not every kid is willing to put in the work. If you’re willing to work, you can achieve anything. Not every player plays his best every game, but it’s the guys that come to the rink every day and the gym in the summer that help a team succeed. If you strive to be the best, all you have to do is work for it and everything else will fall into place.”
Arizona Hockey Club President Stacy Shupe said, “We believe Colten will have the ability to attract players to the program as we continue the rebuilding efforts that began last season. He has experience in the top-most elite levels, the USHL and NCAA D-I, where many of our players aspire to reach. We believe that experience will translate to strong coaching for our players.” St. Clair will also join the AHU youth skills coaching roster.
St. Clair has a clear vision of what fans can expect from his team in the 2017-18 season. He said, “Look for a very disciplined, fast moving, hard-nosed team pushing the pace every shift making plays. We will be relentless and hard to play against. I will run strict systems, but allow players to be creative and use their hockey sense. If a kid is highly skilled, why not let them use it? Everybody will come in and be expected to want to get better day-in and day-out. That’s what creates not just a team, but a family. These guys will be going into battle with each other, so being a family in the locker room is going to be key.”