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Spokane's Don Nachbaur becomes fourth coach to reach 1,000 WHL games

Saturday, 11.24.2012 / 10:14 PM / News

The Canadian Press

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Chiefs head coach Don Nachbaur has become the fourth person to coach 1,000 career games in the Western Hockey League.

Nachbaur's milestone came on Saturday night when the Chiefs hosted the Tri-City Americans.

Nachbaur has coached three WHL clubs, spanning 14 seasons, and currently is in his third year with the Chiefs. He has won 102 games with Spokane and last season became the sixth coach in league history to earn 500 career victories.

After a long career as a professional hockey player, including 223 games in the NHL, the Kitimat, B.C native's coaching career began with the Seattle Thunderbirds in 1994. That year he won his first of three Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophies as the top coach in the WHL.

He led the Thunderbirds' for six seasons, guiding them to 202 wins in 408 games before departing for an assistant coaching job in the American Hockey League.

In 2003, he returned to the WHL's U.S. Division as the head coach of Tri-City. He spent six seasons with the Americans, winning 229 games, and never missed the playoffs.

After the 2008-09 season, Nachbaur once again departed for the AHL to take the head coaching job of the Binghamton Senators, Ottawa's AHL affiliate.

The former centre is also an assistant coach for Team Canada's WJC team and recently led Team WHL against Team Russia in the SUBWAY Super Series.

Nachbaur joins all-time leader Ken Hodge (1,411), Ernie McLean (1,067) and Saskatoon coach Lorne Molleken (1,016), on the list of people who have coached 1,000 WHL games.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round