SEWELL, NJ – The Philadelphia Rebels have announced the coaching staff for their inaugural season at Hollydell Ice Arena.
Justin Hale has joined the franchise as head coach and general manager and Matt Gaudreau has joined the team as assistant coach.
Hale spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL. In Dubuque, Hale had responsibility for the forward group, the penalty kill and served as the coaching staff liaison for team academics.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be the first Head Coach of the Philadelphia Rebels,” Hale said. “I’m grateful to owner Jim Mackey for the opportunity to lead this team and organization. I can’t wait to meet the fans and families around Hollydell Ice Arena and work alongside a great group of players this upcoming season.”
Prior to joining Dubuque, Hale served as an assistant coach, director of player personnel and goaltending coach for the Lone Star Brahmas in the NAHL. Prior to Lone Star, he served as an assistant coach/goaltending coach for Bemidji State University and a volunteer assistant for the Madison Capitals of the USHL.
“Justin impressed throughout his evaluation process,” said Jim Mackey, HSG Hockey, LLC Managing Member. “He is a mature professional who has a clear passion for hockey, communicates well and has a strong history of player development.”
As a player, Hale was a four-year letter winner at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Hale was a defenseman for the two-time NCAA Division III runner up (2014 and 2015) UWSP program. During his career, the team boasted 74 wins and two 20-win seasons. Hale earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and an Economics minor in 2015.
“Justin is a perfect fit for the Philadelphia Rebels and Hollydell Ice Arena,” Mackey said. “His experience in the NCAA, USHL and NAHL give him a unique perspective on player development and advancement. He is a knowledgeable, detail-oriented coach who connects well with his players. We couldn’t be more excited that he is joining the Rebels and our Hollydell community.”
South Jersey native Matt Gaudreau will serve as the club’s assistant coach. Gaudreau just concluded his first season as the assistant coach of the NCDC’s Philadelphia Hockey Club (PHC) playing out of Hollydell.
“I am extremely excited to work alongside Justin [Hale] as he has been through many different levels of hockey and experienced situations that I can learn from,” said Gaudreau.
“My goal in coaching has been the same since I started teaching younger players and that is development,” Gaudreau added. “My favorite thing is to see a young player I have coached live out their dream playing competitive hockey at the highest level possible.”
Prior to coming home to Hollydell, Gaudreau played 3 years of professional hockey in the AHL and ECHL. He had a four-year career at Boston College, setting career highs in goals, assists and points his senior season. Previously Matt played two seasons with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. He grew up in Carneys Point, NJ and started his playing career at Hollydell.
“We are excited to have Gaudreau stay at Hollydell to serve on the Rebels staff,” said Mackey. “Matt is a local success story who has played at a very high level. He impressively translated his playing success to his role as an assistant coach with PHC, and will be a tremendous asset for the Rebels.”