UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The New York Islanders announced that they have hired Jack Capuano, Jr. as assistant coach. Former ECHL player Dan Bylsma is also an assistant coach for the Islanders.
Capuano, who was coach of the U.S. Under-18 Select team 2005 Junior World Cup held earlier this month in Piestany, Slovakia, spent six seasons as senior vice president of hockey operations with the Pee Dee Pride and eight seasons overall with the organization. He joined the organization as head coach and director of hockey operations for the Knoxville Cherokee’s final 16 games of 1996-97, having begun the season as an assistant coach with Tallahassee of the ECHL. Capuano was head coach for the first two seasons in Florence and in 1998-99 led the Pride to a 51-15-4 record and the Brabham Cup, the trophy awarded each season to the regular-season point champion in the ECHL. The Pride won the Southeast Division while setting team records for wins (51), home wins (29) and points (106). Capuano stepped back behind the bench as interim head coach in 2000-01 going 9-5-1 to improve his coaching record to 101-53-7.
Capuano played four years of professional hockey and appeared in five games in the National Hockey League with Toronto, Boston and Vancouver. He was also a first team All-American and served as captain for the University of Maine where he won the Hockey East Championship and appeared in the Frozen Four in 1986.
There are now 11 assistant coaches in the NHL with ties to the ECHL as Capuano joins Dan Bylsma with the New York Islanders, Wayne Cashman with Boston, Bruce Cassidy with Chicago, Dave Farrish with Anaheim, Peter Horachek with Nashville, Charlie Huddy with Edmonton, Jamie Kompon with St. Louis, Brian McCutcheon with Buffalo, Jim Playfair with Calgary, and Barry Smith with Vancouver.
Peter Laviolette, who began his coaching career with Wheeling in the ECHL, is head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes and will be the head coach of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. In addition to Laviolette, former ECHL coaches that have been head coaches in the National Hockey League are Bruce Cassidy, Dave Allison and John Torchetti.