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Behind the ECHL Benches – Neil Graham


Neil Graham is in his first season as Steelheads’ head coach and director of hockey operations after being named to the position on Aug. 7, 2015. Graham served as Idaho’s full-time assistant each of the past two seasons after serving as a player/coach for the Steelheads during the 2012-13 season. At 30-years-old, Graham is the youngest head coach in Steelheads history and also the youngest bench boss currently in the ECHL.

As Idaho’s assistant coach the past two seasons, Graham’s primary on-ice duties involved the team’s defense and penalty-kill units. Both groups ranked in the top five in the ECHL last season, as Idaho allowed just 2.6 goals per game (ranked 5th in ECHL) and successfully killed off 86 percent of the penalties it faced (4th).

The Calgary, Alberta native is a graduate of Mercyhurst University where he played hockey for four seasons before turning pro. He split three seasons between the ECHL and Southern Professional Hockey League, scoring 98 points (42g-56a) in 113 professional games, before changing his career focus to coaching.