LOVELAND, Colo. – The Colorado Eagles announced that Chris Stewart has decided to leave the bench as head coach of the team, choosing to turn his focus solely to his growing role as governor, president and general manager of the organization.
“This was an incredibly difficult decision for me,” said Stewart. “I have been fortunate enough to spend over three decades in the world of coaching, an experience which has been so very rewarding. I very much look forward to continuing my work as the governor, president and general manager of this outstanding organization,” added Stewart. “The future of the Colorado Eagles is extremely bright and what we have in store over the next several months will prove that to our expanding fanbase, which is the absolute best in the ECHL.”
Stewart served as Colorado’s head coach for 11 of the team’s 13 seasons to date. In that time he captured two league championships (2005 & 2007), four conference titles (2005, 2007, 2008, 2011), claimed the division crown on six occasions (2004-2008, 2016) and led the Eagles to the postseason in each of his 11 seasons behind the bench. In addition, he led the Eagles to the CHL’s Governor’s Cup on two separate occasions after capturing the league’s best regular season record in both 2005 and 2006.
“Having no hockey background, I relied heavily on Chris’ guidance through the years,” said Eagles CEO Martin Lind. “His stewardship of this organization has been impeccable, both on and off the ice.”
Stewart was the first person hired by Eagles founder Ralph Backstrom in 2002, arriving in Colorado with a CHL championship already on his resume, after winning the title with the Huntsville Channel Cats in 1999. He also spent three seasons behind the bench with San Antonio of the CHL, leading the Iguanas to the postseason in two of his three seasons as head coach. He concludes his head coaching career as one of the winningest and most experienced coaches in the history of minor-professional hockey, having coached 1,015 games at the professional level and registering an all-time record of 602-322-91.
Prior to moving to the professional ranks, Stewart spent 15 seasons coaching Canadian Junior ‘A’ hockey, where he produced 46 National Hockey League draft picks, coached in six All-Star Games and was named Coach of the Year four times.
“An extensive search for the next head coach of the Colorado Eagles has already begun and we will diligently seek to find the best person to continue to move this organization in the right direction,” said Stewart.