COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have re-signed Syracuse Crunch head coach Ross Yates and assistant coach Trent Cull to return to the bench for Columbus' American Hockey League affiliate, club General Manager Scott Howson announced June 10. As is club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
Yates, 48, will be returning for his third season as head coach and ninth overall with the club. He served as assistant coach for six seasons under current Columbus Blue Jackets assistant coach Gary Agnew from 2000-01 to 2005-06. He has led the Crunch to an 80-60-6-14 record including a 46-26-2-6 mark in 2007-08, which is the second-best record in the 14-year history of the franchise.
Before joining the Crunch, Yates spent more than a decade as a player and coach in Europe. Most recently he served as the head coach of Hamburg, a member of the German Bundesliga League. He has held four other head coaching positions in Europe in the 1990's, including stints in the German, Italian and Swiss Elite Leagues.
He began his playing career at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, where he was an All-Canadian selection in 1980. He signed a free agent contract with Hartford in 1981 and went on to spend four years with the Whalers' AHL affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y. Yates' finest season came in 1982-83 when he tallied 41 goals and 84 assists for 125 points and was named the AHL Most Valuable Player and The Hockey News Minor League Player of the Year. He earned AHL All-Star honors the next year (1983-1984) and made his NHL debut with Hartford late in the season, collecting 1-1-2 in seven games. He was selected to the Binghamton Hockey Hall of Fame during the 2002-03 season.
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Yates signed with Manheim of the German Elite League in 1984. Over the next eight years, he suited up for four different teams in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. In 1986, he also made a brief North American stop in Rochester (AHL), playing 22 games, recording four goals and eight assists.
Cull, 34, returns for his third season as an assistant coach with the Crunch. Before joining Syracuse, he served as an assistant coach for Guelph of the Ontario Hockey League from 2004-06. A native of Georgetown, Ontario, the former defenseman accumulated 28-79-107 with 1,615 penalty minutes in 614 career games for various teams in the AHL and the original International Hockey League (IHL) during a 10-year playing career.
Originally signed as a free agent by the Toronto Maple Leafs on June 4, 1994, Cull's best professional season was in 2000-01 as a member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, when he netted 11-15-26 and 166 penalty minutes. He helped the Houston Aeros win the IHL's Turner Cup championship in 1998-99 and was a member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton team that went to the Calder Cup Finals in 2000-01. He played his final two seasons with Syracuse and collected 2-15-17 with 261 penalty minutes in 98 games from 2002-04.
Deposits are now being accepted for the 2008-09 season. For information on season tickets, mini-plans or group tickets, call (614) 246-PUCK or 800-NHL-COLS.