The Alaska Aces are the ECHL affiliate of the Rivermen of the AHL and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League.
The 38 year old led the Rivermen to a 43-31-6 record and a playoff berth in his first season as head coach in 2008-09.
Payne was an assistant coach for Peoria in 2007-08 after four seasons as head coach of Alaska where he was 185-75-28 in the regular season and 38-21 in the postseason including the Kelly Cup championship in 2006. The Aces advanced to the conference finals each of his last three seasons to become only the second team in history and the first team in 15 years to reach the final four three years in a row. He is one of only two coaches to lead his team to back-to-back 100-point seasons, winning the Brabham Cup in 2005-06 with 113 points and finishing second in 2006-07 with 105 points.
Payne was head coach and director of hockey operations for Pee Dee in the ECHL for two and a half seasons from 2000-03. With Payne behind the bench, Pee Dee was 104-67-17 in the regular season and reached the Kelly Cup Playoffs three straight seasons, advancing to the second round all three years.
He has a career ECHL record of 289-142-45 in the regular season and his teams reached the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of his seven seasons. He is 50-35 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs and ranks second all-time in the ECHL in postseason wins.
Selected in the seventh round (140th overall) by Edmonton in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, Payne played eight professional seasons. He began his pro career in the ECHL with the Greensboro Monarchs in 1992-93. He played for Phoenix and San Antonio of the International Hockey League and Rochester and Providence of the American Hockey League while also playing 22 games in the NHL with the Boston Bruins. He concluded his playing career as an original member of the Greenville Grrrowl of the ECHL where he played two seasons before becoming an assistant coach.