ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League announced that they have hired former ECHL goaltender Arturs Irbe as their goaltending coach.
The Kelly Cup champion South Carolina Stingrays are the ECHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and Hershey of the AHL. The head coach of the Capitals is Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award. Former ECHL coach and player Bob Woods, who led Hershey to the AHL championship in 2009, is an assistant coach for Washington. The head coach of Hershey is former ECHL assistant coach Mark French and the assistant coach of the Bears is former ECHL coach Troy Mann.
Irbe was assigned to Johnstown by the Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL before the start of the 2003-04 season and was 10-3-1 with the Chiefs, missing 10 weeks after undergoing surgery in December. He was recalled to the NHL by the Hurricanes on Feb. 17, 2004 and in his first start stopped 18 shots in a 2-1 win against the Capitals for his team record 126th win.
He was selected as a starter for the 2004 ECHL All-Star Game after beginning the season 8-3-1, however, a wrist injury prevented him from playing in the game. He was named ECHL Goaltender of the Week on Oct. 28, 2003 and was featured on NHL Cool Shots.
The 42 year old represented Latvia in the Winter Olympics in 2002 and 2006 when he was chosen to carry the country’s flag in the opening ceremony. He also played for Latvia in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship in 2004 and 2005.
Irbe played 13 seasons in the NHL with Carolina, Dallas, San Jose and Vancouver and was 240-237-77 with 33 shutouts, a goals-against average of 2.83 and a save percentage of .899. He was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game in 1994 and 1999 and led the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002.