Behind the ECHL Benches – Joe Ferras

Joe Ferras has more than a decade of coaching experience, including 11 years as a head coach in the Central Hockey League. This year he enters his first at the helm of an ECHL Club. In the Rush’s final season in the CHL, Ferras coached in his 700th regular season CHL game on March 11, 2014, becoming just the fourth person in league history to accomplish the feat.

Three seasons ago, the Brantford, Ontario native led the Rush to their second-consecutive 40-win season in 2010-11, guiding the team to a second-straight Conference Finals appearance. The veteran coach also continued to propel players to higher levels, facilitating numerous call-ups to the American Hockey League.

In the 2009-10 regular season, Ferras guided the Rush to a personal and club-record 43 wins, earning the Northern Conference regular-season title. The conference title and playoff berth were both firsts for the Rush. For his efforts, Ferras was named CHL Coach of the Year. In the postseason, Ferras guided the Rush through three rounds and an eventual Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Championship, becoming the fourth team in league history to win the championship in only their second season.

After beginning his head coaching career with the Amarillo Rattlers during the 2001-02 season, Ferras helped to rebuild Amarillo professional hockey and make it one of the most successful small-market programs in the CHL. Ferras took over the newly named Amarillo Gorillas and in four consecutive years guided them to the playoffs. Only one other coach in CHL history (Terry Ruskowski) has this accomplishment on his resume. Ferras coached Amarillo in 38 playoff contests ,including two trips to the CHL semifinals, before losing to the Laredo Bucks in each of those series. Ferras is the winningest coach in Amarillo history including four consecutive 30-win seasons, most home wins, and most road victories.

In 2003-04, Ferras was the recipient of the Rick Kozuback Award for perseverance and commitment to the game, sport and business of hockey. In that same year, Ferras was runner-up for the Coach of the Year Award.

Following the success Ferras enjoyed coaching in Amarillo, he signed with the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League in the summer of 2006 to be an Assistant Coach with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL.

After a season in the AHL, Ferras was hired to start the expansion Rapid City Rush as head coach/director of hockey operations. In the first season behind the bench in Rapid City, Ferras’ squad accumulated 22 wins and 53 points, good enough for third place in the Northwest Division. Ferras also helped send several players to AHL camps which included the club’s first call-ups to the AHL. His all-time record with the Rush entering the 2014-15 season is 217-138-37, and his all-time record coaching is 378-270-60.

Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Ferras enjoyed an excellent playing career that was highlighted by four years at Plattsburgh State University in which he shattered virtually every scoring record including the top scorer in NCAA history that still stands today. Ferras was a two-time All-American and his number was retired by Plattsburgh in 2002.

In 1988, Ferras began his professional hockey career by signing a free-agent contract with the AHL’s Adirondack Red Wings. In his 13 years as a professional, Ferras played several years in the top leagues in Europe including Italy, England and Finland. Ferras also played two seasons in the ECHL with the Richmond Renegades and Winston-Salem Thunderbirds.

Off the ice, Ferras and his wife, Aynsley, reside in Rapid City, and his step-son, Taylor, is attending graduate school in Dallas. .

Coaching Record

Reg. Season



Amarillo (CHL)


2002-03Amarillo (CHL) 6439232 413
2003-04Amarillo (CHL) 6437243 1156
2004-05Amarillo (CHL) 6031209 945
2005-06Amarillo (CHL) 6435263 624
2008-09Rapid City (CHL) 6422339 
2009-10Rapid City (CHL) 6443147 17125
2010-11Rapid City (CHL) 6640224 1596
2011-12Rapid City (CHL) 6638226 624
2012-13Rapid City (CHL) 6635247 624
2013-14Rapid City (CHL) 6639234 734