COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have re-signed head coach Ross Yates and assistant coach Trent Cull to return to the bench for the club's American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson announced May 11. As is club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
Yates, 49, will be returning for his fourth season as head coach and 10th overall with the Crunch. He served as assistant coach for six seasons under current Blue Jackets assistant coach Gary Agnew from 2000-06. In his three seasons behind the bench, Yates has led Syracuse to a 120-92-11-17 record with his .566 winning percentage the best in franchise history. After guiding the Crunch to a 34-34-4-8 record (80 pts.) in 2006-07, he led the club to a 46-26-2-6 mark (100 pts.) in 2007-08, which is the second-best record in the 15-year history of the franchise. This past season, he led Syracuse to 40-32-5-3 record (88 pts.), including a 25-17-4-1 from January 1-on. The 40 wins are the third-most in club history, while the 88 points stand fifth.
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Yates spent more than a decade as a player and coach in Europe before joining the Crunch in 2000. He served as the head coach of Hamburg of the German Elite League most recently, as well as holding the same position with clubs in the Italian and Swiss Elite Leagues. He played college hockey at Mount Allison University and then spent four seasons with the Hartford Whalers' AHL affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y. His finest season was 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 made his NHL debut with Hartford in 1983-84 and collected 1-1-2 in seven games before heading overseas to continue his career.
Cull, 35, returns for his fourth season as assistant coach. Before joining the Crunch, he served as an assistant coach for the Ontario Hockey League's Guelph Storm from 2004-06. A native of Georgetown, Ontario, the former defenseman accumulated 28-79-107 with 1,615 penalty minutes in 614 career AHL and original International Hockey League games during a 10-year playing career.
Originally signed as a free agent by the Toronto Maple Leafs on June 4, 1994, Cull helped the Houston Aeros win the IHL's Turner Cup championship in 1998-99. His best professional season was in 2000-01 as a member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins when tallied 11-15-26 and 166 penalty minutes and helped the club advance to the Calder Cup Finals. He played his final two seasons with Syracuse and collected 2-15-17 with 261 penalty minutes in 98 games from 2002-04.
Columbus Blue Jackets season tickets for 2009-10 are on sale now with prices starting at $18 per game. In addition, 10- and 20-game packages are also on sale. For information, call (800) NHL-COLS or visit BlueJackets.com.