athletic staff

Learn From the Pros

Our entire staff at Northstar Christian Academy are committed to the Academy’s three pillars, Academic Advancement, Athletic Excellence, and Spiritual Development. We desire that each student builds a solid foundation during their time with us so that when they leave Northstar, they are ready for any challenges that they may encounter. We believe that each of our staff members have been called specifically to Northstar, to invest in our young men, challenging and growing them into Godly young men who will impact the World for Jesus Christ.

Athletic Staff

Our hockey staff has over 100 years of high level coaching experience 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.

john oliver

John Olver

Coach, Player Advisor

“I strive to be a servant leader. I want to inspire my players to become champions in every aspect of their lives.”
Coach Olver joins the Northstar Knights with 35+ years of professional, college and junior coaching experience. After playing college hockey at Michigan, JO started his coaching career in 1984, and has spent time behind the bench and as a general manager in the AHL, ECHL, WCHL, NCAA, BCHL, and WSHL. JO looks at his coaching career in three stages: 16 years without God, 15 years as a Christian, and the past 5 years as a sold out believer with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. JO’s passion is to help our players become the best versions of themselves they can be, and that starts by having a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior.

dallas steward

Dallas Steward

Associate Head Coach 18U Prep

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

Associate Head Coach U16 Team, Associate Director of NCA

“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.

joshua freitas

Joshua Freitas

Asst. Coach, Strength Coach, Asst. Academic Director

“My passion is to help young men grow in their relationship with Christ and discover what it means to ‘Follow Him’ with their whole heart.”

Former College hockey player at Bethel University and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Ice Hockey team. Josh is excited to bring his knowledge in strength & conditioning to NorthStar. Josh has been a part of FCA since September of 2009, when he was the 2nd ever Athlete of the month. With a B.S. in Biokinetics and an emphasis in Exercise Science, Josh will design and monitor team and individual workout programs specific to each player. He is also in the role of Assistant Academic Director where he aids in each student’s academic achievement and spiritual development. Josh is passionate about helping young men discover their true identity in Christ while aiding them in their desire to develop as athletes on the ice, in the classroom, gym, and kitchen. He is excited to build lasting relationships with each young man that comes through NorthStar.

rick randazzo

Rick Randazzo

Co-Founder, Academy Director

“Coaching is not about the team’s record, championships or trophies, it is about impacting the lives of players so that each player competes in a way that brings glory to the Lord.”

Rick and his wife Shannan launched the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Hockey Ministry in 2008 after spending 8 years as the head coach at the United Stated Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. As head coach, Rick lead Navy to over 120 wins along with representing the United States and Team USA as a coach in Innsbruck, Austria at the World University Games. Rick played 4 years of Division 1 hockey at Army West Point where he had over 100 collegiate points. After West Point, Rick spent 6 years in the Army as a Calvary officer and Army Ranger. Rick’s passion is to develop Godly men as well as see the hockey world ignited for Jesus Christ. Rick and his wife Shannan founded the Northstar Knights Program in 2018 and have served together on the Founders Committee since 2016.

rylan galiardi

Rylan Galiardi

Head Coach 18U 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.

tim jackman

Tim Jackman

Head Coach U16 Team

“I am passionate about helping young men learn how to train to be their best as hockey players, come together as a team, and trust the Lord’s grace along the way.”
Tim is joining NCA after a 14-year professional playing career, which included playing in over 400 NHL games and 400 AHL games. Knowing coaching was what he wanted to do next, he returned to Minnesota State University Mankato to finish his degree and gain valuable coaching experience as a member of the coaching staff. Not only does Tim want to share his experience playing professional hockey but also his life before he was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and now as a follower.

pete samargia

Pete Samargia

Goalie 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.

johnny van atta

Johnny Van Atta

Hockey Operations Director

Johnny is in his first 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.