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

Interim Northstar Director, Co-Head Coach 16U AAA

Dallas Steward is entering his 4th year with Northstar. Steward came to the Knights after coaching at Michigan Tech University (NCAA Div. I) for 4 seasons. Before that, he as was Associate Head Coach of the Chicago Steel (USHL) for 2 seasons, winning the Clark Cup Championship in in 2016-17 and was also the Assistant Coach/ Director of Scouting for the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) for 4 seasons, winning the Clark Cup Championship in 2014-15. During Steward’s time in the USHL, he served as the Assistant Coach for Team USA at the 2015 World Jr A Challenge winning the Bronze medal. 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.

Mark Abalan

Co-Head Coach 16U AAA, Director of Discipleship

Mark Abalan is entering his 3rd season with the Northstar Knights and has over 20 years of coaching experience from the youth to junior level. Prior to arriving at Northstar, Abalan coached in the USHL as both a Head Coach (Chicago Steel) and an Associate Coach (Sioux City) for 9 seasons. He also spent two seasons at Shattuck St. Mary’s coaching the U16 team going to the National Championship game both years. While coaching in the USHL, Mark was selected to represent his country three times as a coach for the USA World Jr. A Challenge Team, winning two gold medals and a bronze.

Johnny Van Atta

Director of Hockey Operations and Media Relations

Johnny is in his third 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 Organ

Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Antony is entering his 1st year at Northstar after spending the last 2 seasons working in the University of Wisconsin athletic department, graduating with a Masters degree in Applied Exercise Science. Antony worked as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Coach for the Men’s and Women’s Hockey and Basketball Teams as well as being a Head Strength and Conditioning coach for Women’s Tennis. In his stint with the Badgers, the Women’s Hockey Team won an NCAA National Championship and the Men’s Basketball Team won a BIG 10 Championship. Antony is excited to lead the Northstar Knights in Strength and Conditioning providing individualized programming as well as leading the nutrition component for the athletes.

rylan galiardi

Rylan Galiardi

Head Coach U18 Prep, Hockey Director

Galiardi is entering his 5th season here at Northstar following a four year stint with Sioux Falls in the USHL, winning the Clark Cup Championship in 2018-19. 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 as the head coach with the Southern Tier Xpress in the NA3HL in 2014, and then as head coach 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 is entering his 2nd season with the Northstar, bringing a wealth of experience to the Knights. Prior to Northstar, he was the Head Coach at Gentry Academy in Minnesota for 5 consecutive seasons, winning a Minnesota State High School Championship in 2021. Before transitioning into coaching, Cullen had an extensive playing career, accumulating over 400 points scored in 500+ pro games played. He 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 where he 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. Professionally, Cullen carved out an 11 year playing career making stops in the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy and Scotland before he retired in 2014. 

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.