SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League announced that they have named former Dayton Bombers coach Greg Ireland as the head coach of the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League.
The Phoenix RoadRunners are the ECHL affiliate of the Coyotes of the NHL and the Rampage of the AHL.
The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League, marking the seventh season in a row that the ECHL has had affiliations with 20 or more teams, and there has been a former ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion each of the past 18 years.
There are 14 assistant coaches in the AHL who have ECHL experience with Scott Allen of Quad City, Pat Bingham of Bridgeport, Dan Bylsma of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, David Cunniff of Worcester, J.J. Daigneault of Hartford, Kevin Dean of Lowell, Ted Dent of Rockford, Gord Dineen of Portland, Neil Little of Philadelphia, Moe Mantha of Rochester, Davis Payne of Peoria, Kjell Samuelsson of Philadelphia, Troy Ward of Houston and Bob Woods of Hershey.
In addition to Ireland, there are nine former ECHL coaches who are head coaches in the AHL with Dave Allison of Iowa, Dave Baseggio of Peoria, Bruce Boudreau of Hershey, Jack Capuano of Bridgeport, Kevin Dineen of Portland, Scott Gordon of Providence, Mike Haviland of Rockford, Kurt Kleinendorst of Lowell, and Roy Sommer of Worcester. Former ECHL player and coach Al MacIsaac is general manager of hockey operations for Rockford and former coach Scott White is director of hockey operations for Iowa.
The 41 year old Ireland was head coach and general manager of hockey operations for Dayton from 1998-2003. He is the Bombers all-time coaching leader with a 175-134-47 record and led the team to the Kelly Cup Playoffs four times in five seasons, including the 2002 Kelly Cup Finals. Following the 2002-03 season, he joined the coaching staff of Hamilton of the AHL which advanced to the 2003 Calder Cup Finals.
In five seasons with Dayton, Ireland had more than 90 players who were called up to either the AHL or the original International Hockey League, including 18 players to the AHL in 2002-03.
Ireland was most recently the head coach of Grand Rapids of the AHL where he was 109-65-8-10 in the regular season and 11-12 in the playoffs.
In his first full season behind the bench in 2005-06, the Griffins were 55-20-1-4 and won the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy, presented to the AHL regular season champion. The 55 wins were the third most in league history as Grand Rapids also set team records with 115 points and a winning percentage of .719 and reached the conference finals.
As an assistant coach with Grand Rapids in 2003-04, Ireland helped construct a defense that allowed a franchise-low 166 goals and ranked fourth in the AHL with 2.08 goals-allowed per game. Following his promotion from assistant coach to head coach on Feb. 10, 2005, the Griffins were 17-13-1-1 and finished 41-35-2-2 yet did not make the playoffs, becoming the first team in AHL history to win more than 40 games and not advance to the postseason.