Behind the ECHL Benches – Matt Thomas, Stockton Thunder


Matt Thomas is in his fourth full season as head coach of the Stockton Thunder. In his first full season with Stockton in 2009-10, Thomas led the Thunder to the Conference Finals for the first time in the team’s five-year history. Thomas took over the team on Dec. 29, 2008 and led them to a 22-16-3 record over the last 41 games to advance to the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the third season in a row. Stockton upset regular season division winner Ontario in the semifinals before losing to Las Vegas in the division finals.


Thomas was head coach of Fresno until Dec. 22, 2008 when the team suspended operations despite leading the division with an 18-10-2 record. He was the youngest active head coach in the ECHL at 29-years-old when he took over in Fresno on June 2, 2005. He has led his teams to the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of his eight seasons and is 305-199-71 in the regular season and 36-38 in the postseason. He ranks eighth in ECHL history with 305 wins and is seventh with 575 games coached entering the 2012-13 season. Fresno was one goal away from the Kelly Cup Finals in 2006, losing in double overtime of Game 7 in the conference finals to Kelly Cup champion Alaska. Thomas joined Fresno after one season as head coach and director of hockey operations for Atlantic City which was 42-22-8 and advanced to the postseason where it lost to Kelly Cup champion Trenton.


He was 28-years-old when he took over Atlantic City making him one of the youngest coaches in league history. He was selected to coach in the 2009 ECHL All-Star Game and the 2005 ECHL All-Star Game. He worked as an assistant coach in Atlantic City for two seasons and helped recruit many of the players who helped the Boardwalk Bullies win the Kelly Cup Championship in 2003.


Prior to Atlantic City, Thomas spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Maine. In 2001-02, the University of Maine went 26-11-7 and advanced to the NCAA Championship Game. Thomas spent one season as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the Rochester Institute of Technology, which went 27-1-2 and advanced to the NCAA Division III Frozen Four. Following a junior career in the Metro (Toronto) Junior A Hockey League, Thomas served as Captain and helped RIT achieve a No. 1 ranking while advancing to the NCAA Tournament during his senior year while earning Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III West All-Star honors.

Coaching Record Reg. Season Playoffs
Season Team Gms. W L T Gms. W L
2004-05 Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (ECHL) 72 42 22 8 3 0 3
2005-06 Fresno Falcons (ECHL) 72 43 15 14 18 11 7
2006-07 Fresno Falcons (ECHL) 72 34 29 9 6 2 4
2007-08 Fresno Falcons (ECHL) 72 42 22 8 6 2 4
2008-09 Fresno Falcons (ECHL) 30 18 10 2
2008-09 Stockton Thunder (ECHL) 41 22 16 3 14 7 7
2009-10 Stockton Thunder (ECHL) 72 33 29 10 15 9 6
2010-11 Stockton Thunder (ECHL) 72 37 23 12 4 1 3
2011-12 Stockton Thunder (ECHL)  7234335 844
ECHL Totals 575 305 199 71 74 36 38