Evansville, Ind. – The Evansville IceMen announced Thursday that Jeff Pyle has been appointed Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations of the IceMen for the upcoming 2013-14 ECHL season, effective July 1, 2013.
The IceMen are the ECHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League and the Springfield Falcons and Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League.
The IceMen become the seventh team to be guided by Pyle since he retired from his pro playing career in 1990-91. The Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. native began his hockey career earning the Northern Michigan University Rookie of the Year Award in 1978-79. Pyle completed his three-year college stint with Northern Michigan in 1981-82 after collecting the 1980-81 CCHA Player of the Year Award and making two CCHA All-Star appearances (1979-80, 1980-81).
Pyle, 54, made his pro debut during the 1981-82 season appearing in four games with the Saginaw Gears in the International Hockey League and 16 games with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Binghamton Whalers.
During his pro playing career Pyle was named team Most Valuable Player (MVP) on nine occasions and was a seven-time All Star. Pyle posted a career-year in 1986-87 when the forward was named the IHL’s MVP after scoring 49 goals and leading the league with 87 assists and 136 points while a member of the Saginaw Generals.
Pyle made his coaching debut in Europe, coaching four different pro teams in Germany from 1993 to 1998 and registering an overall record of 142-81-31.
Pyle is no stranger to the ECHL. He served as head coach of the Mobile Mysticks for four seasons from 1998-99 to 2001-02 managing all affiliation duties and directing recruitment and player negotiations. Pyle assisted in transitioning the team move from Mobile to Gwinnett where he continued to serve as head coach until 2010-11 for a total of 12 ECHL campaigns. In 2011-12 Pyle added Texas of the AHL to his coaching resume serving 76 games behind the Stars bench.
Pyle’s ECHL coaching career is highlighted by three consecutive ECHL All-Star Game appointments and an overall ECHL record of 446-323-91. Pyle coached Gwinnett to the 2006 Kelly Cup Finals, a South Division championship and an American Conference championship.