Poss is boss in Florida.

(Yes, I’ve been holding onto that headline for this day.)

Greg Poss, a volunteer assistant coach last season for the Reign, has been named the head coach of the Florida Everblades in the ECHL’s newly-named Eastern Conference.

Here’s the skinny from the Naples Daily News’ Web site:

Poss, a 45-year-old who spent last season as an assistant with the Ontario Reign, becomes the fourth coach in Everblades history, replacing Malcolm Cameron, who resigned in April.

“I’m thrilled because this is the job I wanted above all the others,” Poss said. “To have the opportunity to work with Craig Brush, a guy who has experience getting players, he’s a great resource and I think the two of us working together can put a really great product on the ice.”

Prior to his time with the Reign, Poss was an accomplished coach in Europe, spending the last nine seasons coaching in the German Elite League (DEL). During the 2006-07 season, Poss led the Mannheim Eagles to the best regular season record (35-9-8), a victory in the inter-league tournament and a league championship.

Poss’ resume also includes national team experience with both the United States and German teams. In 2009 he was an assistant with the US National Team that finished second in the Deutschland Cup. In 2004-05, Poss was the head coach of the German Senior National Teams that participated in the Deutschland Cup and the World Championships.

“I wanted someone that was going to be media-friendly, fan-friendly, successful and knew the X’s and O’s of hockey,” Brush said. “I found the guy I was looking for.”

7:50 p.m. update:
Poss, who came to the Reign in December 2009 seeking to gain experience in the North American game, called his time in Ontario “a great experience.”

“I loved it,” he said. “Right after the season, I heard that (Everblades general manager) Craig (Brush) was looking for a
new head coach, so I contacted him and went through the process.”

The Everblades are an established franchise, having advanced to two Kelly Cup Finals in their 11 seasons of existence.

Reign coach Karl Taylor said that “it’s a great job for Greg. At the same time, Florida’s very fortunate to have Greg. He’s a great coach, but more importantly a great person. Our league is very fortunate to have Greg.”

Poss was given specific duties helping with the Reign’s power play and defense, but Taylor said that he and Poss discussed all aspects of coaching.

 “Once the guys figured out Greg’s system, it improved dramatically,” Taylor said.

ECHL Board of Governors meeting recap.

The ECHL Board of Governors didn’t drop any bombshells at their annual Board of Governors meeting Tuesday in Henderson, Nevada. The major points:

• The American Conference is now the Eastern Conference and the National Conference is now the Western Conference.
• The West Division (Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Victoria) is now the Mountain Division.
• The Las Vegas Wranglers have a new ownership group, Wranglers Hockey, LLC, led by Gary Jacobs. Jacobs’ group also owns the Lake Elsinore Storm, a Single-A baseball team in the California League.
• A new franchise was approved to begin play in 2011-12.

Unlike a year ago there will be no realignment, no new playoff formats, and nothing that directly impacts the Reign – not this season, at least.

Continue reading “ECHL Board of Governors meeting recap.” »

Coaching change in Idaho.

I’m a day late on this, but the Idaho Steelheads have been looking for a new coach for at least 24 hours.

Derek Laxdal is leaving Boise for the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings after five seasons. The Steelheads went 217-108-35 under his watch, including the league’s best record (48-17-7) last season. Idaho won the Kelly Cup in 2007 and were runners-up in 2009-10.

If anything, the Reign may gain a slight edge in the recruiting department depending on how long it takes the Steelheads to identify Laxdal’s successor. One thing the new coach might want to figure out is how to beat a Karl Taylor defensive scheme. The Reign went 6-2-1 against Idaho last season.

Reign announce season-ending roster.

ECHL season-ending rosters were released today, the lists of up to 20 players from whom teams can qualify eight. The Reign’s season-ending roster included exactly 20:

Mike Egener, Chad Starling, Jon Francisco, Tim Kraus, Tony Voce, Peter Lenes, Curtis Darling, Chris Curran, Geoff Walker, Greg Hogeboom, David Walker, Sean O’Connor, Mike Zacharias, Jon Rheault, Dan Knapp, Luis Tremblay, Todd Jackson, Robert Pearce, Shawn Germain and James McEwan.

Of the players who finished 2009-10 on the Reign’s roster, five are missing:

• Defenseman Andrew Martens, who has signed in the Central Hockey League;

• Forwards C.J. Stretch and Jordan Nolan, who were playing on Amateur Tryout contracts, and therefore not eligible for the season-ending roster;
• Forward Michael Pelech and defenseman Colten Teubert, who were assigned to the Reign by the Kings.

In other words, the season-ending roster looks just as expected.

The next step in the process of whittling down who will be back next season is submitting qualifying offers.

Each team is entitled to qualify a maximum of eight players
the list of 20 by extending a qualifying offer no later than July 1. Of
eight qualified players, no more than four can be veterans (260 regular-season professional hockey games played as of the start of the 2010-11
season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded. Teams are
required to extend a qualifying offer to players who sign a contract
to July 1.

A new role for an old Reign.

Remember Ryan Bowness?

The original Reign forward, the son of former NHL head roach Rick Bowness, has been promoted to the position of Manager of Player Development and Hockey Administration with the Atlanta Thrashers.

Bowness, who joined the Thrashers as a hockey operations assistant in
January, will primarily work with the organization’s amateur and
minor-league prospects, assisting with advancing their off-ice
training, nutrition and skill development. In addition, he will support
the hockey operations staff with stats analysis, scouting coordination
and player research.

The 26-year-old spent his entire 11-game professional playing career with the Reign in 2008, scoring one goal and racking up 21 penalty minutes before suffering a season-ending hand injury in a fight.

Reign announce protected list.

There were no surprises on the Reign’s protected list, announced Wednesday:

Kellen Briggs, Dusty Collins, Chris Curran, Curtis Darling, Mike
Egener, Jon Francisco, Shawn Germain, Greg Hogeboom, Todd Jackson, Dan Knapp, Tim
Kraus, Peter Lenes, Andrew Martens, James McEwan, Sean O’Connor, Robert Pearce,
Jon Rheault, Chad Starling, Jason Tejchma, Luis Tremblay, Tony Voce, David
Walker, Geoff Walker, Mike Zacharias.
Continue reading “Reign announce protected list.” »

Martens explains his decision to sign in CHL.

Andrew Martens will always have a big place in the history of the Ontario Reign. On October 11, 2008, he scored the team’s first two goals in a preseason game against the Bakersfield Condors. He scored the Reign’s first regular-season goal in Bakersfield seven days later.

Not surprisingly, Karl Taylor wasn’t the only one aware of Martens’ potential as a high-scoring defenseman. When Martens signed with the Central Hockey League’s Wichita Thunder last week, it marked the culmination of a lengthy pursuit by Kevin McClelland, who has coached in the Central Hockey League since the 2005-06 season.
Continue reading “Martens explains his decision to sign in CHL.” »