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Justin Hale Named Head Coach of Philadelphia Rebels

By Jordan Kuhns, 06/29/22, 4:00PM CDT

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Wisconsinite earns first head coaching job after three seasons in Dubuque

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Dubuque Fighting Saints assistant coach Justin Hale has been named the head coach of the Philadelphia Rebels in the North American Hockey League. The team was relocated from Jamestown, N.Y. to Washington Township, N.J. Hale served as an assistant coach of the Fighting Saints for the past three seasons, and he played a massive part in coaching the forwards, the penalty kill, and taking the bulk of the travel and logistics work.

“We are pleased to congratulate Justin on his first head coaching position. It’s been said before, but our organization exists to move people on in their lives and their careers,” said GM and President of Hockey Operations, Kalle Larsson. “JH is the most recent example of that. We take great pride in our staff being coveted by other organizations.”

Hale, 31, played a major role in the success of the Fighting Saints over the past three seasons. As coach of the forwards, the team finished in the top five for offense all three seasons with an average of 3.91 goals per game across three seasons. He also spent countless hours cutting video for breakdowns and one-on-one meetings.

Along with academic coordinator JoAnne Gibson, Hale served as an academic liaison on the coaching staff by setting up daily “Saints School” sessions and by conducting grade checks. The organization saw one USHL Scholar Athlete and seven USHL All-Academic Team selections during Hale’s time in Dubuque.

“Dubuque will forever hold a special place in my heart. I have been fortunate enough to work alongside great people,” Hale said. “Dubuque has been a place where I have made friendships, learned a ton and grown as a coach and as a man.”

“In his three seasons with the Fighting Saints, JH has demonstrated a work ethic that is second-to-none; and he has grown as a coach year by year. He has worked with two incredible head coaches in Dubuque—Greg Brown and Oliver David—and there is no doubt he’s ready to be a head coach himself. We thank Justin for his work with the Saints, and we all look forward to following his head coaching career.”

The Wisconsinite finished his seventh season as an assistant coach in the hockey world. Stops along the way included the Madison Capitols, Bemidji State University, the Lone Star Brahmas, and finally, the Fighting Saints.

As a player, Hale played his college hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a regular Division III powerhouse. The Pointers finished as national runners-up in 2014 and 2015, but he remained a stalwart defensive defenseman who helped the team pick up 74 wins over his time as a college hockey player. He also was named an NCHA All-Academic Team honoree in 2013.

“A special thank you to Brad Kwong, Kalle Larsson, and Oliver David for giving me the chance to join such a storied hockey club and contribute to the ‘Tradition of Excellence,’” Hale continued. “A thank you as well to Greg Brown for his mentorship this past season and to my fellow assistant coach Evan Dixon; it would not have been the same without you. Lastly, thank you to the community of Dubuque for being the best fan base in the USHL.”

The search for Hale’s replacement will begin immediately.