Lewiston native Colt Steele is the new coach for the Twin City Thunder’s Premier team. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Colt Steele made his first impression on Twin City Thunder co-owner Dan Hodge nearly nine years ago when Steele was a forward for the Maine Moose junior hockey team from 2012-14.

“I’ve known of Colt for years now from the old (Northern States Hockey League) days, when I was coaching the (Cape Cod) Islanders and I coached against him,” Hodge said. “He was always a player that worked hard and had a good reputation as a good young man.”

Now their paths cross again as Steele has been named the head coach for the Thunder team that plays in the United States Premier Hockey League’s Tier III Premier League.

“It’s crazy; the hockey world is so big, but if you know one person, you can get connected to another person so quickly,” Steele said. “I was lucky to play against Coach Hodge when I was younger. I know what the (type of) team he runs and he’s looking to build.”

The job became open when Alex Drulia, the Thunder’s Premier team head coach for the past three seasons, joined the Maine Moose organization in the spring.

The 29-year-old Steele, a native of Lewiston, spent this past winter as an assistant — coaching forwards — with the Lewiston High School varsity boys hockey team, before coming across the Thunder job opening earlier this year. He also runs his own fitness facility — TruFit30 — in Lewiston, which he will continue to do.


“I was planning to go back to Lewiston to help out again as an assistant coach this year,” Steele said. “I was at work one day and said, ‘Let’s see what jobs are open.’ It was just through coincidence — I hopped on some websites and saw the (Thunder) job posted.”

Steele said that during the pandemic he decided he wanted start coaching as a way to be involved in hockey again after being out of it since his hockey career ended a few years earlier.

He began his high school career playing his freshman and sophomore seasons at North Yarmouth Academy from 2007-2009. Steele then spent his junior year with the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs Junior B team.

For his senior year, Steele returned home to play for Lewiston in 2010-11 and put up nearly 50 points in the Blue Devils’ run to the Class A state championship game, which they lost to Thornton Academy 4-3 in double overtime.

After Lewiston, he played a postgraduate year at Brewster Academy (New Hampshire) in 2011-12 alongside Lewiston teammate and 2011 Travis Roy Award-winning goaltender Cam Poussard. Steele then played two seasons with the Moose and then club college hockey at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, from 2014-18.

Steele said his junior and college experience should help him connect with his players.


“I have been in their shoes before and I know junior hockey is — it’s a grind and a battle every day,” Steele said. “Being able to relate to these kids and being so fresh out of college and junior hockey, I think that it will be helpful — being able to connect with these kids to build those relationships with them and having them wanting to be there every day.”

Steele said he learned a lot about building relationships and communicating during the past year when he was an assistant to Jamie King at Lewiston.

Hodge said being a good communicator is important for a Tier III coach within a junior hockey organization.

“You want a coach who can communicate and can tell you what players are playing well and what their attitudes are,” Hodge, also the head coach of Twin City’s Tier II National Collegiate Development Conference team, said. “You see them on a practice level, but you don’t see them in the locker room.

“It’s one of those things, you want a coach who goes to bat for his players. Last year, you look at our track record, we called up a lot of Tier III players (to the NCDC team), whether it was from our (organization), the Springfield Pics, or other teams (across the country).”

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