STOCKTON, Calif. – The Stockton Thunder, ECHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League, and president Brian Sandy announced today that Rich Kromm has been named new head coach and director of hockey operations of the Thunder.
Having served as a head coach at five levels in professional hockey and in the major junior ranks, he brings ten years of head coaching experience and multiple winning campaigns in professional hockey, along with four seasons of work behind the bench in the Western Hockey League.
At the professional level, Kromm’s teams have made the playoffs in five of the last seven seasons and surpassed the 40-win plateau four times. The native of Trail, British Columbia most recently coached the Evansville IceMen for three seasons, serving in a key role with their transition to the ECHL from the Central Hockey League in 2012-13.
Last season, he worked directly with two NHL affiliates of the IceMen, assisting in the development of prospects assigned through the Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues organizations. In 2011-12, Evansville was only one of three teams to crack the 40-win mark with a record of 40-22-4 (84 points) and finished tied for second place in the CHL’s Turner Conference.
Kromm’s resume includes four seasons as head coach of Muskegon in the United Hockey League and International Hockey League, where he was UHL Coach of the Year in 1998-99 while guiding the Fury to a Colonial Cup championship and the league’s Tarry Cup for the top regular season record at 50-18-6 (106 points). He left the organization as their all time winningest coach (modern history) with a record of 181-92-25 in 298 games (.649 winning percentage).
He also guided Muskegon to the UHL Semifinals in 1999-00 and IHL’s top regular season record at 51-20-5 (107 points) in 2009-10.
He was an assistant coach for the Chicago Wolves in 1997-98, helping steer the club to the IHL’s Turner Cup championship with the league’s best record at 55-24-3 (113 points). He also assisted the Florida Panthers’ scouting efforts during the 1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs, following two seasons in the American Hockey League as head coach of the Carolina Monarchs from 1995-97.
Kromm began his coaching career in the IHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones, serving in assistant and interim head coaching roles from 1993-95 when he helped orchestrate back to back 49-win seasons and a combined regular season mark of 98-45-19 (win percentage of .663).
His four seasons of junior experience include time behind the bench with the Calgary Hitmen and Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. Kromm steered Calgary to playoff appearances in back-to-back seasons (2002-04) while coaching future NHL first round draftees and forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Andrew Ladd and defenseman Jeff Schultz.
As an NHL left wing, Kromm skated in parts of nine seasons with the Calgary Flames and New York Islanders, totaling 173 points (70g-103a) in 372 career games. He dressed in 36 career Stanley Cup Playoff games and collected eight points (2g-6a). He was selected in the second round (37th overall) by Calgary in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft.