athletic staff

Learn From the Pros

Our leadership at Northstar Christian Academy are committed to our foundation in Christ.

Athletic Staff

Our hockey staff has extensive experience coaching at the professional, collegiate, junior and youth hockey levels. Each member has been hand selected because of their knowledge, expertise and commitment to fulfilling the mission and purpose of Northstar Christian Academy. Each staff member brings unique gifts and experiences as well as a commitment to invest in each and every player at the deepest level possible.

dallas steward

Dallas Steward

Interim Northstar Director, Co-Head Coach 16U AAA

Dallas joins Northstar after coaching at Michigan Tech University (NCAA Div. I) for the past 4 seasons. Before that, he as was Assistant Head Coach of the Chicago Steel (USHL) for 2 seasons, and Assistant Coach/ Director of Scouting for the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) for 4 seasons. Prior to becoming a coach, Dallas, played at the University of Alaska Anchorage (NCAA Div. I) from 2000-2004 and played professional for 6 seasons in the ECHL and CHL.USA Hockey has also played a development role, having served as Assistant Coach for Team USA at the 2015 World Jr A Challenge in Ontario, Canada and coaching 9 USA hockey select festivals. Dallas is excited to help grow each of the young men at Northstar in their personal faith walks and develop their biblical knowledge of Jesus Christ.

mark abalan

Mark Abalan

Co-Head Coach U16 AAA, Director of Discipleship

“I’m excited to bring my vast experiences and knowledge to Northstar and to be able to help our players become disciplined men of integrity who serve others.”
Mark joins the NCA staff with over 20 years of coaching experience from the youth to junior level. Over the last 11 seasons 9 of those have been in the USHL as both a Head Coach (Chicago Steel) and an Associate Coach (Sioux City) and Mark spent two seasons at Shattuck St. Mary’s coaching the U16 team going to the National finals both years. During that same time Mark represented his country three times as a member of the USA U19 team winning two gold medals and a bronze.

johnny van atta

Johnny Van Atta

Director of Hockey Operations and Media Relations

Johnny is in his second year as the Hockey Operations Director for the Knights. Born and raised in Nashville, TN he joins us after previously working for TPH Hockey at their Nashville location. Prior to TPH, Johnny worked for the Knoxville Ice Bears of the SPHL as their Statistics and Video Coordinator while he attended school at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Johnny joins Northstar with a passion for serving the Knights players and staff. His jobs include home game live broadcasting, equipment repair and maintenance, all game day operations, travel planning and scheduling, news article write-ups, social media content, statistics and assisting in staff lead discipleship groups.

Antony Orgen

Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Anton is entering his 1st year at Northstar after spending the last 2 seasons working in the University of Wisconsin athletic department.

rylan galiardi

Rylan Galiardi

Head Coach U18 Prep, Hockey Director

“Northstar has proved to be a special place, filled with exceptional people. I am eager to learn from all the coaches, staff, and players. ”
Rylan comes to Northstar after a four year stint with Sioux Falls in the USHL. A 2010 graduate of Minnesota State – Mankato, he was captain his senior year and named MSU Athlete of the Year. He spent time playing in the AHL, ECHL, and the EIHL in Great Britain, winning an ECHL Kelly Cup in his rookie year. He got his coaching career started with the Southern Tier Xpress in the NA3HL in 2014, and then coached one year with the Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede 18U AAA team. Rylan plans to invest in every individual by loving, caring and serving them with enthusiasm, in helping prepare them to become better men of character and integrity in the next stage of their lives.

Joe Cullen

18U Associate Coach

Cullen brings a wealth of experience to the Knights hockey staff. Cullen began his hockey career at Moorhead High School where he was recruited to play for the National Team Development Program. Cullen then played collegiately for 4 seasons at Colorado College where his team made 3 NCAA tournament appearances, winning 1 WCHA Championship and Joe was named “defensive player of the year” in the WCHA 2002-03 season. His abilities led him to being drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2000 NHL Draft. After graduating, Cullen carved out an 11 year professional playing career making stops in the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy and Scotland before he retired in 2014. Cullen finished with over 400 points scored in 500+ pro games played. After retiring from being a player, Cullen transitioned into coaching and became the head coach for Gentry Academy in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota where he coached for 5 consecutive years, winning a state championship in 2021. 

pete samargia

Pete Samargia

Goaltending Coach

Owner and operator of Attitude Goaltending in Plymouth, MN. Pete brings a unique mix of on-ice instruction as well as mentoring goaltenders on the mental side of the position. Pete’s playing experience includes one year in the USHL, two years at the University of Minnesota, and two years at Augsburg University. After a short stint playing professionally, Pete has coached at the high school and college level, and is entering his second year of being the goalie coach for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL.