Moving from Houston, Texas to Oak Park, Illinois in the 1970s, Steve Cromie loved both football and hockey, playing youth hockey with the Oak Park Eagles and joining the varsity squads for both sports at Oak Park River Forest High School. As captain of the hockey team, he was the first player to earn the John C. Cooper Award for outstanding player. In 1983, he accepted an offer from Iowa State University to play Division I collegiate football. During Steve’s freshman year, he was recruited by legendary hockey coach Al Murdoch to play hockey at Iowa State University…and the rest is history. After four years playing Big 8 Conference football, and ISU hockey, Steve graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and a minor in communications. Following graduation, Steve confronted numerous athletic options. He played hockey in the East Coast and Pacific Leagues and additionally signed a professional contract with the Minnesota Vikings to play football in the NFL.
Steve began his coaching career coordinating various hockey camps including the prestigious Can/Am Hockey Group. He caught the eye of the owners of the North American Hockey League’s (NAHL) Junior A Chicago Freeze, and was offered a position on staff from 1997 to 1999. While coaching in the Junior A league, Steve was recruited and accepted a head coaching position for the Midget program at the Barrington Red Wings Hockey Organization in1999. Steve’s focus was on teamwork, leadership, sportsmanship, and player development and advancement, culminating in his appointment as Director for the Red Wings hockey organization in 2004. As Director, he designed a player-development curriculum for players ranging in age from 5 to 18, advancing more than 50 players through prep school and junior hockey into the collegiate and professional levels. “I’ve always tried to teach them to respect the game,” Steve says of his coaching philosophy.
In 2005, Steve accepted an appointment as the head coach at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. In 2006, he was sought after by the newly formed Chicago Hounds of the United Hockey League and accepted the assistant coaching position. Throughout his extensive career, Steve has paved an incredible road through hockey. From Learn-to-Skate to Midgets to Juniors to College, the passion remains. From local organizations to AAA to USA Hockey to Juniors to Professional, the dedication has been instrumental to a mass of skaters. Steve currently serves as a consultant to the USA Hockey coaching education program. He currently lives in Elgin, with his wife Lori and sons, Colin (15) playing for the Chicago Bruins and Brendon (11) playing for the Wolfpack.
Of his hockey career, Steve says, “It’s been a phenomenal journey. I’ve met phenomenal people, and learned a lot of lessons. I’ve been very blessed to pass that on to players that want to make a career out of hockey.”
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