There are several coaching changes occurring in this American Hockey League off season, and the Wilkes Barre Penguins are getting in on the action. The Pens have hired Mike Sullivan as their new head coach.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mike to the Penguins’ organization,” Penguins associate GM Jason Botterill said via a team press release. “Mike adds a wealth of experience thanks to his many successful years coaching in the NHL and AHL, and with USA Hockey. We believe he will do a great job developing our prospects to prepare them for the jump to the NHL.”
Sullivan has worked as an assistant coach in the National Hockey League with the Vancouver Canucks, but is most known for spending two seasons behind the bench with the Boston Bruins as their head coach.
Via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
"“I was a young coach who came right off of playing and was fast-tracked to a head coach,” said Sullivan of his years in Boston. “I chose to go work with Torts as his assistant because I thought it made sense to work with someone who has had success, who’s won a Stanley Cup, to learn from someone in the business who has been coaching a long time. I’ve always had aspirations to be a head coach again.”“I did a lot of soul-searching and reflecting on where I was from a personal standpoint and where I wanted to go,” he said. “Certainly, my aspirations are still to be a head coach. I thought it was a necessary step if I had to go back to the American League and become a head coach again and try to make my mark and bring the wealth of experience that I’ve gained through the years to the team that I’m going to coach. I think it’s an important step.”"
The Penguins needed to bring in a coach after the NHL’s New Jersey Devils hired their previous head coach, John Hynes. With Hynes gone, Wilkes Barre has become somewhat of a feeder team for NHL head coaches with former WB Penguins coaches at the helms of New Jersey, Buffalo, Minnesota, Montreal, and Columbus.
There has been speculation that Sullivan is somewhat of a crutch for the NHL Penguins as well, and security for if they decide to move in a different direction with their head coaching.
Sullivan played in the NHL after being drafted by the New York Rangers. In the end he played for the Bruins, Sharks, and Coyotes.
More from AHL