SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers General Manager Rick Dudley announced on Monday that former ECHL player and assistant coach John Torchetti has been named interim head coach. The Augusta Lynx of the ECHL are affiliated with both the Panthers and the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League.
Torchetti, who joined the Panthers coaching staff as an assistant on March 6, 2003, takes over for Dudley, who led the team to a 13-15-19-3 record since assuming the coaching responsibilities on November 9.
Torchetti scored 42 points (16g-26a) in 30 regular season games and helped the Carolina Thunderbirds win the inaugural ECHL Championship scoring 10 points (5g-5a) in 11 playoff games with the Carolina Thunderbirds in 1988-89. He scored 44 points (23g-21a) in 47 regular season games and one point (1g-0a) in four playoff games with the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds of the ECHL in 1989-90. He concluded his playing career in 1990-91 scoring 41 points (19g-22a) in 47 games with Winston-Salem.
The 39-year-old Torchetti began his career behind the bench in 1992-93 as an assistant coach with the Greensboro Monarchs. Torchetti is the fourth ECHL coach to become a head coach in the NHL joining current Carolina head coach Peter Laviolette; Bruce Cassidy, who coached Washington to the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a rookie head coach in 2002-03; and Dave Allison, who coached Ottawa for 25 games in 1995-96.
In addition to Torchetti and Laviolette, there are seven ECHL coaches in the NHL: Brian McCutcheon, assistant coach for Buffalo; Wayne Cashman, assistant coach with Boston; Charlie Huddy, assistant coach with Edmonton; Barry Smith, assistant coach with Vancouver; Don Jackson, assistant coach with Ottawa; Jim Playfair, assistant coach with Calgary; Peter Horachek, assistant coach with Nashville. Jamie Kompon, who played in the ECHL from 1989-91, is the strength coach for St. Louis.