ELMIRA, N.Y. - The Elmira Jackals, ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres and the AHL's Rochester Americans, have mutually agreed to part ways with Head Coach Dave Leger, Vice President and Team Governor Bob Thomas announced. Player/Assistant Coach Mike Duco will take over behind the bench beginning with tonight's game against the Reading Royals. Duco will be named the Interim Head Coach for Elmira, pending the completion of mandatory immigration and league paperwork.
"We want to thank Dave Leger for his service to the Elmira Jackals. He was instrumental in a renewed focus of player involvement in the Community," said Thomas. "These are never easy decisions to make, but we feel it was necessary at this time."
"We would like to thank Dave for his efforts creating a positive culture within our organization and instilling a focus on community engagement," said Director of Hockey Operations and Development Jared Abbott. "I would like to wish Dave the best of luck in his future endeavors."
Duco, 29, was signed by the Jackals in the offseason as a player/assistant coach, but will now transition into the interim head coaching position, pending the completion of mandatory immigration and league paperwork.
As a player, Duco has eight professional seasons under his belt, including seven in North America. He skated in 18 games in the NHL, most recently in 2011-12 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks where he tallied his only two career points.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for Mike ," said Abbott. "We have every confidence in Mike to lead our team moving forward. I look forward to working with him to build a competitive team that is tough to play against."
Duco served as the inaugural captain of the ECHL's Indy Fuel in 2014-15. The majority of his professional career was spent in the American Hockey League, appearing in 267 games with the Rochester Americans, Chicago Wolves and Toronto Marlies and scoring 107 points (56g-51a). He also played in 107 ECHL games with the Orlando Solar Bears, Indy Fuel and Evansville IceMen, totaling 59 points (32g-27a).
Prior to his pro career, Duco played major junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League with the Kitchener Rangers. In 242 games with the Rangers, he had 191 points (99g-92a) and was a member of the Rangers team that won the OHL championship and advanced to the Memorial Cup Final in 2008.