Mike Bales was promoted to the role of goaltending coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins on August 19, 2013.
Bales spent the previous two years as the Penguins goaltender development coach, where he was responsible for working with and assisting in the development of goalie prospects and players throughout the Penguins’ organization. Bales also assisted in the evaluation and scouting of amateur goaltenders.
Behind Bales’ tutelage during the 2012-13 season, goaltenders Jeff Zatkoff and Brad Thiessen of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins combined to allow the fewest goals (178) in the American Hockey League (AHL). Zatkoff’s 1.93 goals-against average was the lowest in the AHL.
During his two-year stint as goaltending development coach, Bales was also instrumental in helping the Penguins re-stock their goaltending depth throughout the organization.
Since then the Penguins have drafted three goaltenders – 2013 second-round selection (44th overall) Tristan Jarry, 2012 third-round pick (83rd overall) Matt Murray and 2012 fourth-round pick (113th overall) Ryan Maguire – and they have signed 2013 Hobey Baker Award finalist and USA Hockey College Player of the Year Eric Hartzell as an undrafted free agent.
All four players ranked among the league leaders in several significant categories of their respective leagues.
Bales, who hails from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, spent 18 seasons playing professionally from 1992-2010, including stints in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators. Bales also saw action in the American Hockey League (AHL), the now-defunct International Hockey League (IHL), Germany, Sweden and Northern Ireland.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound goaltender appeared in 23 NHL games between 1992-97 after being drafted by Boston in the fifth round (105th overall) of the 1990 NHL Draft. Bales’ most extensive NHL action came when he appeared in 20 games with Ottawa in 1995-96.
Bales’ best professional season came in 1994-95 when he won a career-high 25 games for the AHL’s Prince Edward Island Senators. Overall, Bales appeared in 209 career AHL games with four teams from 1992-98, posting a career AHL record of 82-90-20.
Bales finished the North American portion of his career with the Michigan K-Wings and Utah Grizzlies of the IHL from 1998-01. In 107 career IHL contests, Bales went 42-45-11 with a 2.72 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.
Beginning with the 2001-02 season, Bales played the remaining nine seasons of his professional career in Europe, including the final six seasons of his career with the Straubing Tigers of the German Ice Hockey League (DEL).
Prior to turning pro, Bales played three collegiate seasons with Ohio State University of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) from 1989-92.
Bales and his family – wife Melanie and children William, Alexander and Alexa – will be moving to Pittsburgh for the upcoming season.