Mark Hardy returns as Ontario Reign assistant coach.

Mark Hardy was running out of superlatives Wednesday to describe what it meant to become a professional hockey coach again.

“Awesome.” “A dream come true.” “A step in the right direction.” “A great feeling.”

You get the picture.

The 52-year-old former Kings defenseman and assistant coach turned down an offer to become a salesperson for a local electrician, choosing instead to return to the game as a minor-league assistant with the Reign. The one-year contract was formally announced today, one day after Jason Christie was named the new head coach.

Hardy’s exile from the Kings, and subsequent recovery, has been well-documented here and elsewhere. Will that come with a negative reaction, or is all forgiven from Kings fans?

I’ll have his thoughts about that, as well as those from Reign President Justin Kemp, in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.