KEARNEY, Neb. — A coach with more than 20 years of experience will be the new person to lead the Tri-City Storm.

The USHL franchise in Kearney announced on Friday that it hired Mark Abalan as its new head coach. He joins the Storm after spending the last three seasons with the Northstar Christian Academy Knights 16U AAA organization in Alexandria, Minn. Abalan previously served as head coach of the Chicago Steel (USHL) during the 2017-2018 regular season.

Abalan replaces Anthony Noreen, who left the storm to become head coach at Miami (OH) University. Noreen spent seven years with the Storm and was the winningest coach in franchise history.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity and excited to build upon a rich Storm tradition,” Abalan said in a statement. “My goal is to provide an environment for our players to learn and grow as young men both on and off the ice. Tri-City has a rich tradition, sustained success over the last decade, a passionate fan base, and is always a hard place to play for an opponent.”

The Duluth, Minn. native compiled a 68-36-3 record as co-head coach of the Knights. He went 13-8-1-2 as head coach of the Chicago Steel.

“In my conversations with him this week, he has shown that he is a person of the highest integrity who cares deeply about his players and is committed to their success on and off the ice,” President of Business Operations Mark Jalcovik said. ”I am excited to welcome him as our new Head Coach of the Tri-City Storm.”

Abalan represented the United States on three occasions in international competitions. He served as an assistant coach on Team USA's gold-medal-winning squad at the 2013 (Yarmouth, Nova Scotia) & 2018 (Bonnyville, Alberta) World Junior A Challenge. Abalan was also behind the bench for the United States in the team's bronze-medal-winning performance at the 2019 (Dawson Creek, British Columbia) edition of the event.

The 2024-25 season will be the Tri-City Storm’s 25th year as a franchise.