ESTERO, Fla. – The Florida Everblades announced at a press conference Tuesday that Brad Ralph has been named the team’s head coach and director of hockey operations. Ralph becomes the fifth head coach in club history. Additionally, Assistant Coach Tad O’Had has been promoted to associate head coach.
The Everblades are the ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes and the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers.
“I am very pleased about bringing on Brad Ralph to the organization,” said Everblades President & General Manager Craig Brush. “Brad has been successful with every team that he has coached, including three seasons in our league with Idaho. While going through this process, I was looking for someone that I felt comfortable working with, and someone that could lead us deep into the playoffs.”
Ralph, 35, brings six seasons of head coaching experience to the Everblades. Ralph has amassed a career coaching record of 251-128-31. Last year, Ralph guided the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League to a 48-20-4 record and a third-round appearance in the playoffs.
Ralph coached the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL for three seasons (2012-15) totaling a 132-64-20 mark along with three postseason appearances. Ralph began his coaching career with the SPHL’s Augusta RiverHawks (2010-12), and led his team to the league finals in his year.
“I am very grateful to be joining a first class organization such as the Florida Everblades," said Ralph. “The long tradition of winning with the Everblades was very appealing to me. As far as style of play, I want my team to play smart, play fast, and play the game with emotion. I am looking forward to getting things going for the upcoming season.”
As a player, Ralph appeared in 383 professional games split between the ECHL and AHL, while making his lone NHL appearance with the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2000-01 season.
It was also announced on Tuesday that Tad O’Had, who has served as the team’s assistant coach the past three seasons, has been promoted to associate head coach. O’Had has played a key role in the team’s recruiting and player development during his tenure with the ‘Blades, and will continue to serve in this capacity in his new role.
Ralph becomes the fifth head coach in club history following the recent announcement that Greg Poss accepted a position with Red Bull Salzburg in Austria. Poss coached the Everblades for six seasons from 2010-16. Other former coaches include Bob Ferguson (1998-01), Gerry Fleming (2001-08), and Malcolm Cameron (2008-10).