Cincinnati Cyclones Head Coach Matt Macdonald and Adirondack Thunder Head Coach Brad Tapper have both been named assistant coaches for the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Grand Rapids named former Cylcones’ Head Coach Ben Simon as its new head coach on June 5.
A native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Macdonald just wrapped up his fourth season as Cyclones head coach where he led Cincinnati to a 39-30-3 record and a third-place finish in the ECHL’s Central Division. The Cyclones ultimately fell to the Fort Wayne Komets in the opening round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, 4 games to 1.
Overall, Macdonald compiled a record of 142-116-20 with the Cyclones, and led Cincinnati to the playoffs in two of his four seasons as head coach. He celebrated his 100th career coaching victory on March 15, 2017 with a 2-1 win over the Alaska Aces, and he also eclipsed 30 wins in each of his four seasons behind the bench. Macdonald also served as an assistant coach for the Cyclones from 2012-14, helping Cincinnati to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances, and a trip to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2014 under Simon.
Tapper led the Thunder to its first ever appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in his first season as a head coach at the professional level. It was the first time that any Glens Falls-based team had reached that point in the postseason since the Adirondack Red Wings in the 1992 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Prior to joining the Thunder for the 2017-18 season, Tapper spent time as an assistant coach in the AHL with Rochester and Chicago, and in the ECHL with Orlando and Florida. He played over 430 professional games as a player, including 71 with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers from 2000-03.