PRINCETON, N.J. – The New York Islanders of the National Hockey League announced that they have hired Pat Bingham as an assistant coach for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League.
Bingham joins the staff of former ECHL coach and executive Jack Capuano, who was named Bridgeport’s head coach on Apr. 30.
“I’d like to thank Howard Saffan, Garth Snow and Jack Capuano for the opportunity and their vote of confidence in me,” said Bingham. “I look forward to working with Jack and Bernie (Cassell) to put a winning product on the ice in Bridgeport and developing future Islanders.”
In his first season coaching in the ECHL in 2003-04, Bingham was named ECHL Coach of the Year after he led Wheeling back to the postseason for the first time since 1997-98. The Nailers set the ECHL record with 11 shutouts and team records for points (106), wins (50), home wins (28) and road wins (22). Bingham was the inaugural recipient of the John Brophy Award presented annually to the ECHL Coach of the Year and named in honor of legendary coach. Bingham was assistant coach and director of hockey operations for Wheeling in 2001-02 when Brophy was the head coach.
Bingham played four seasons in the ECHL with Nashville, Hampton Roads and Richmond. He scored 104 points (36g-68a) in 143 regular season games and 19 points (8g-11a) in 20 postseason games. Bingham helped Hampton Roads win the ECHL Championship in 1991 scoring 15 points (6g-9a) to lead all ECHL defensemen in the postseason. Bingham also played in the American Hockey League with Binghamton, in the Sunshine Hockey League with Lakeland and Jacksonville and in the Colonial Hockey League with Brantford. He played four seasons in the Western Hockey League with New Westminster and Kamloops, who he helped win the WHL Championship in 1986.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the AHL in 2006-07 marking the sixth season in a row that the ECHL had affiliations with 20 or more teams in the AHL.
In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players. In the last five seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.
Bingham becomes the ninth assistant coach in the AHL with ECHL experience joining Scott Allen of Omaha, Dan Bylsma of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, David Cunniff of Worcester, J.J. Daigneault of Hartford, Kevin Dean of Lowell, Ted Dent of Norfolk, Gord Dineen of San Antonio, Matt Shaw of Houston and Bob Woods of Hershey – while Scott White is director of hockey operations for Iowa.
There are 13 former ECHL coaches who are head coaches in the AHL – 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 Norfolk, Greg Ireland of Grand Rapids, Kurt Kleinendorst of Lowell, Claude Noel of Milwaukee, Kjell Samuelsson of Philadelphia, Roy Sommer of Worcester and Geoff Ward of Springfield.
Haviland became the sixth former ECHL coach to be named AHL Coach of the Year in 2006-07. The AHL Coach of the Year award was won by ECHL coaches four years in a row from 2001-04 with Claude Noel (2004), Geoff Ward (2003), Bruce Cassidy (2002) and Don Granato (2001). The first former ECHL coach to win the award was former Wheeling and current Carolina Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette in 1999.
The CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week award was won 14 times by a former ECHL player in 2006-07 while a former ECHL goaltender was named the Rbk X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month the last five months of the season.
Six former ECHL players were on the All-AHL Teams in 2006-07 with former Charlotte goaltender Jason LaBarbera, who also won Goaltender of the Year; former Mississippi defenseman Sheldon Brookbank, who also was named Defenseman of the Year; and former Greenville center Martin St. Pierre being named to the First Team while former Roanoke and Wheeling left wing Jason Jaffray and former Florida center Keith Aucoin were named to the Second Team. Former Long Beach goaltender Jaroslav Halak was named to the AHL All-Rookie team and former Atlantic City and Trenton coach Mike Haviland was voted as the AHL Coach of the Year.