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Capitals Name Mark French Head Coach of Hershey Bears

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
ARLINGTON, Va. – Mark French, the Hershey Bears’ assistant coach the past two seasons, has been promoted to head coach of the Washington Capitals’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, Capitals vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Troy Mann has been named the Bears’ new assistant coach and will join French behind the bench as Hershey defends its Calder Cup championship in 2009-10.

French replaces Bob Woods, who was promoted to assistant coach in Washington after leading the Bears to the AHL title. He joined the Hershey staff on Jan. 2, 2008, after Woods had been promoted to head coach.

French previously was the head coach and director of hockey operations for the Wichita Thunder (Central Hockey League) from 2005-07. He was responsible for player recruitment and contract negotiations while with the Thunder and managed the team’s operating budget.

French also served as the assistant coach of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the ECHL during the 2004-05 season when the Bullies posted a 42-21-9 record. Prior to joining the professional ranks, French was the head coach at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada from 2002-04. French served as assistant coach and assistant general manager of the Canadian Hockey League’s North Bay Centennials from 1999-2002.

Mann comes to the Washington organization after spending the past four seasons with the ECHL’s Columbia Inferno, the past three as head coach and director of hockey operations. Mann led the Inferno to the South Division final in 2007-08. Last season, while the team suspended operations during the construction of a new arena, Mann served as associate head coach of the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers. His coaching career began as a player/assistant coach in the United Hockey League before he became an assistant coach and interim head coach of the Central Hockey League’s Topeka Tarantulas in 2004-05.

Mann’s 11-year professional playing career included a stint with the Mississippi SeaWolves in the ECHL, where he was the first player to sign with the franchise in 1996 and won the Kelly Cup while playing for Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau in 1999. Woods was also a member of the 1999 SeaWolves, serving as both a player and an assistant coach. Mann is a 1993 graduate of the University of Toronto, where he played for the Varsity Blues.
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