The Winnipeg Jets have named former Alaska Aces player and coach Keith McCambridge as head coach for their American Hockey League affiliate in St. John’s, NL.
McCambridge played the final three years of his 11-year playing career with the Aces from 2003-06 scoring 21 points (5g-16a) and adding 375 penalty minutes in 166 games. He retired following the Aces 2006 Kelly Cup championship, and went behind the bench the following season serving as an assistant coach to current St. Louis Blues head coach Davis Payne.
When Payne joined Peoria of the AHL as an assistant coach in 2007-08, McCambridge was elevated to head coach, and led the Aces to an 86-50-8 record over two years, including a trip to the 2009 Kelly Cup Finals.
Following the 2008-09 season, McCambridge joined the Manitoba Moose as an assistant coach.
McCambridge becomes the 14th head coach in the American Hockey League with ECHL ties, including 13 who coached in the league.
Seven times in the last 11 years the winner of the AHL Coach of the Year award has been a former ECHL coach including Scott Gordon, Mike Haviland and Kevin Dineen in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Former ECHL coaches won the award four consecutive years from 2001-04 with Don Granato, Bruce Cassidy, Geoff Ward and Claude Noel. The first former ECHL coach to win the award was Peter Laviolette in 1999.
In the last eight seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 3,000 call-ups involving more than 1,500 players and in 2010-11 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
Former ECHL broadcasters working in the AHL include Brendan Burke of the Peoria Rivermen, Josh Fisher of the Texas Stars, Josh Heller of the Albany Devils, Mike Kelly of the Springfield Falcons, Eric Lindquist of the Worcester Sharks, Jason Lockhart of the Syracuse Crunch, Pete Michaud of the Norfolk Admirals, Joe O’Donnell of the Houston Aeros, Bob Rotruck of the Adirondack Phantoms, Jason Shaver of the Chicago Wolves, Jason Shaya of the Charlotte Checkers, Dan Weiss of the San Antonio Rampage and Grady Whittenburg of the Binghamton Senators.