PRINCETON, N.J. – Former Johnstown Chiefs Head Coach Scott Allen was promoted from assistant coach to head coach of the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. Allen replaces Steve Ludzik, who was named as an assistant coach for the Florida Panthers on Monday.
“Scott has done an incredible job in developing our prospects in San Antonio,” said Florida Panthers General Manager Rick Dudley. “We always had plans for Scott to be the club’s AHL head coach at some point and now it is his turn to lead San Antonio. He is very well respected by our players and we are confident that he and Bobby Jay will continue to build on the success that the Rampage has experienced so far this season.”
“I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to help develop the Panthers’ prospects,” said Allen. “With our team’s tremendous talent, I believe the Rampage can add to the franchise’s success.”
Augusta is the ECHL affiliate of San Antonio and Florida. Lynx Head Coach Stan Drulia served as an interim assistant coach for San Antonio late last season, and was instrumental in securing the Lynx’s affiliation with Florida and San Antonio. In his first season with the Lynx, Drulia told the Augusta Chronicle that he would not accept a position with the Rampage at this time because “… it’s not fair to what we’ve started here.”
There are former ECHL coaches behind the bench on 14 of the 28 AHL teams, and the ECHL has affiliation agreements with 21 of the 28 teams in the AHL in 2003-04.
It marks the second time in two seasons that Allen, who joined San Antonio as an assistant coach in June of 2002, has taken over as head coach for the Rampage. In March of 2002-03, he was named interim head coach when former Rampage Head coach John Torchetti was named an assistant coach for the Panthers. Allen guided San Antonio through the final 15 regular season games going 6-6-1-2 and advancing to the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs.
The 37-year-old Allen has more wins than any other coach in Johnstown’s 15-year history. He was 144-150-32 in five seasons and led the Chiefs to the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of his last three seasons. In his last season in 2001-02, Johnstown was 39-31-2 and set team records for wins, points (80) and fewest goals allowed (232).
The native of New Bedford, Mass. played 10 professional seasons in the ECHL, the All American Hockey League, the Atlantic Coast Hockey League, the Colonial Hockey League, and the Central Hockey League. He and Torchetti helped the Carolina Thunderbirds capture the ECHL Riley Cup Championship in 1988-89, and Allen won a second ECHL Riley Cup Championship the following season with the Greensboro Monarchs.
Allen is the eighth former ECHL coach that is a head coach in the AHL, joining Bruce Boudreau (Manchester), Scott Gordon (Providence), Don Granato (Worcester), Claude Noel (Milwaukee), Roy Sommer (Cleveland), Doug Shedden (St. John’s), and Geoff Ward (Toronto). Serving as assistant coaches in the AHL are David Baseggio (Bridgeport), Nick Fotiu (Hartford), Greg Ireland (Grand Rapids), Mark Kumpel (Portland), Kjell Samuelsson (Philadelphia), and Matt Shaw (Houston). Former ECHL player David Cunniff is an assistant coach for Cleveland.
In 2002-03, the ECHL had affiliation agreements with 22 of the 28 teams in the AHL and there were more than 80 players in the ECHL on AHL contracts. The ECHL had 450 call ups to the AHL in 2002-03, the most since a record 453 call ups to the 19 teams of the AHL and the 13 teams of the International Hockey League in 1999-2000.
For the 14th consecutive year, a former ECHL player was a member of the AHL Calder Cup Champion. In 2003, Houston had five former ECHL players including playoff MVP Johan Holmqvist on its roster.