TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye introduced Dan Watson as the new head coach, becoming the third person to hold that position in the team’s eight-year history.
Watson takes over for Derek Lalonde, who stepped down after two seasons in Toledo to take the head coaching job with the AHL’s Iowa Wild.
"I’m excited and honored to have this opportunity," says Watson. "Toledo is the best place to play in the ECHL. "We’ve had great success during the regular season the past two years and got so close to playing for the Kelly Cup in 2015. My job will be to build a championship-winning team by attracting talented, character guys that’ll get us over the next hurdle to win it all."
For the past seven seasons, Watson has served as Assistant Coach and Associate Head Coach for the Toledo Walleye. Over that time, Watson helped guide the Walleye to four playoff appearances (2010, 2013, 2015, 2016), a Brabham Cup championship (2014-15) and the best Eastern Conference regular season record in back-to-back seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16). He also served 21 games as Interim Head Coach to close out the 2013-14 season, finishing with a 5-13-3 record.
"Dan Watson has worked very hard behind the bench ever since the start of Toledo Walleye hockey, and he’s been a big part of our recent success," says Toledo Walleye General Manager Neil Neukam. "He certainly has earned his shot at being a head coach in the ECHL." Watson played with the Toledo Storm during the 2006-07 season, the final year of his pro playing career. The 2016-17 season will mark Watson’s ninth year involved with T-Town Hockey.
"Toledoans are extremely passionate about hockey, and that support definitely gives us a home-ice advantage at the Huntington Center," says Watson.
Watson played three seasons with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL, being named the 1998-99 Scholastic Player of the Year at Sarnia and the 1999-00 Defensive Player of the Year, and playing in the 1998-99 OHL All-Star Game.
Following his junior career, Watson played seven professional seasons in the AHL, UHL, and ECHL, with 447 games played, 23 goals, 66 assists, and 394 penalty minutes. He was captain of Long Beach of the ECHL from 2004-06.