BOISE, Idaho – Forward Max Coatta has agreed to terms with the Idaho Steelheads for the 2019-20 season, joining the organization for his first full professional season, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen announced Thursday.
“As the season ended last year, I was looking ahead and knew professional hockey was what I wanted to do and something I wanted to challenge myself with,” said Coatta. “Signing in Idaho is a great feeling, and I couldn’t be more excited to sign my first contract with them.”
Coatta (pronounced KOH-tuh), 25, completed his collegiate career with Minnesota State University-Mankato during the 2018-19 season, posting eight goals and seven assists for 15 points with four power play goals through 33 games while aiding the Mavericks to a WCHA Championship and earning WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year Honors. The Minnetonka, Minn. native made his professional debut with the Wheeling Nailers following his senior season on April 6, adding two assists in his first two ECHL games. In 148 career collegiate games over four seasons, Coatta tallied 24 goals and 28 assists for 52 points, and he earned WCHA All-Rookie Team honors during the 2015-16 season.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward served as Team Captain for two seasons for a perennial ranked program in NCAA Division I hockey that earned NCAA tournament appearances during his two seasons as captain in 2017-18 and 2018-19 as well as top-10 rankings at the end of the season. His family shares a pension for natural leadership with his older brother, Sam, also taking a leadership role in junior hockey and collegiate play. Coatta believes those values instilled can help him moving forward as he begins his next chapter.
“I’ve always viewed myself as a leader and have been able to do it on different teams, but the coaching staff at Minnesota State and my teammates gave me the opportunity to do that and trusted me with it. I thought it was a big opportunity to learn from the guys and the staff about how to be a better leader.”
“Max is coming off a great four-year career at Mankato where he was part of a leadership group that had tremendous success,” said Sheen. “He brings the speed, toughness and skill we look for in our players, and we are excited to have him join us here in Boise.”
Prior to his professional career, Coatta completed his junior hockey career with the Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) during the 2014-15 season, tabbing 15 goals and 14 assists for 29 points through a full 60-game season. He also played with the Penticton Vees (BCHL) and Lincoln Stars (USHL) in 2013-14, combining for 15 goals and 21 assists for 36 points in 58 games. He was also the captain for Minnetonka High School.
Coatta is one of four rookie forwards listed ahead of the 2019-20 season, and he’s also one of 10 players to formerly have a leadership role between high school, junior, collegiate and professional organizations. The Steelheads now have 14 players announced to the team’s roster.
Forwards (9): Zack Andrusiak (rookie), Max Coatta (rookie), Freddy Gerard (rookie), Matt Lippa (rookie), Will Merchant, Mitch Moroz (Asst. Captain), Marc-Olivier Roy, Kyle Schempp, A.J. White (Captain)
Defense (5): Nolan Gluchowski, Keegan Kanzig (Asst. Captain), Jeff King, Colton Saucerman, Eric Sweetman
Future player announcements will be made at a later date.
“[Playing in Wheeling] gave me a little taste of pro hockey, the league and what the style of play is like,” said Coatta. “It got my foot in the door to see what I can do at that level. It’s a different game than in college. Having that experience will make things transition-wise a little bit easier.”
The Steelheads return to CenturyLink Arena on Friday, Oct. 18 for the 2019-20 Home Opener against the Wichita Thunder. Season tickets and flex plans for the 2019-20 season are now available! Call the Steelheads Front Office at 208-383-0080 to plan your seats for next season. Stay connected to the Steelheads throughout the summer on idahosteelheads.com or by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.