PRINCETON, N.J. – Former Johnstown Chiefs Head Coach Scott Allen was promoted from assistant coach to interim head coach for the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League. Allen replaces John Torchetti, who along with Duane Sutter was named as an assistant coach for the Florida Panthers on Thursday. The Jackson Bandits are the ECHL affiliate of San Antonio.
“It came out of the blue. It was very sudden,” Allen told the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat. “We played Wednesday night in Grand Rapids and got a big win. We left early Thursday morning and hopped on a plane. By the time we touched down and were going through the airport terminal and turned our phones back on, the phones started ringing.”
In a statement released by San Antonio, Florida General Manager Rick Dudley said that the promotions fit into a long-term plan.
“One of the reasons why we brought Scott Allen to San Antonio to work with John Torchetti was the possibility of Torchetti moving on to the National Hockey League,” Dudley said. “Scott has proved in the past that he can be a very successful head coach. I have no reservations about naming him interim head coach in San Antonio.”
The 36-year-old Allen joined the Rampage as an assistant coach in June. 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.
The ECHL has affiliation agreements with 21 of the 28 teams in the AHL with 82 players in the ECHL on AHL contracts and the ECHL has had 356 callups to the AHL in 2002-03. The ECHL had 400 call ups to the 27 teams of the AHL in 2001-02, 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.
There are eight other former ECHL head coaches currently behind the bench for AHL teams. Peter Horachek, who coached both Nashville and Trenton, is in his first season with Milwaukee while Cleveland’s Roy Sommer, who coached Roanoke Valley and Richmond, is in his fifth season as the head coach of San Jose’s top affiliate. Bruce Boudreau, who led Mississippi to the 1999 Kelly Cup Championship, is in his second season as head coach with Manchester. Don Granato, who coached Columbus (Ohio) and Peoria, is in his third season with Worcester. Granato was named AHL Coach of the Year following his rookie season in 2000-01, one year after leading Peoria to the Kelly Cup Championship. Geoff Ward, who coached Arkansas, began the season as an assistant coach with Hamilton, but was named head coach after Claude Julien was hired as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. Scott Gordon, the first ECHL player to play in the NHL and later head coach of Roanoke, is an assistant coach with Providence while Nick Fotiu, who coached Nashville and Johnstown, is an assistant coach with Hartford. Mark Kumpel, who coached Nashville and Dayton, is an assistant coach with Portland.
Jim Playfair, who coached Dayton and was the 1995 ECHL Coach of the Year, began the season as head coach of St. John in the AHL before being named as an assistant coach with Calgary in the NHL in January.