ARLINGTON, Va. – The Hershey Bears, Washington’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, have named Troy Mann head coach and Bryan Helmer assistant coach, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
“Troy has a wide range of coaching experience and he understands the importance of developing, teaching and leading our young players to success,” said MacLellan. “We feel Troy is ready for the next step in his coaching career and are very pleased to welcome him back to Hershey.”
Mann, 44, served as head coach of the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL during 2013-14 season and led the team a 36-30-6 record in his first season as head coach. In the Kelly Cup playoffs, Bakersfield advanced to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the eventual Kelly Cup Champion Alaska Aces.
Prior to joining the Condors, Mann served as an assistant coach with the Hershey Bears from 2009-13. During his four seasons with Hershey, the Bears posted a 180-100-10-22 record and captured the Calder Cup in 2010. Seventeen players who skated for Washington in 2013-14 played for Mann during his previous tenure with Hershey (Karl Alzner, Jay Beagle, Julien Brouillette, John Carlson, Nicolas Deschamps, Philipp Grubauer, Braden Holtby, Marcus Johansson, Michael Latta, Peter LeBlanc, Michal Neuvirth, Steven Oleksy, Dmitry Orlov, Cameron Schilling, Nate Schmidt, Ryan Stoa, Casey Wellman). Mann also was an assistant coach for two AHL All-Star Games in 2010 and 2011.
The Campbellton, New Brunswick, native joined the Bears after spending four seasons with the ECHL’s Columbia Inferno. Mann led the Inferno to the South Division final in 2007-08, his second of three years as head coach and director of hockey operations. In 2008-09, while the team suspended operations during the construction of a new arena, Mann served as associate head coach of the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers. Mann’s 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 former Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau in 1999. Mann is a 1993 graduate of the University of Toronto, where he played for the Varsity Blues for four years.
Helmer, 41, spent the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native played in 146 NHL games with Phoenix, St. Louis, Vancouver and Washington, registering 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) and 135 penalty minutes. Helmer played in 12 games with the Capitals during the 2008-09 season, earning three assists.
The 6’1”, 210-pound defenseman played in 1,117 AHL games during his 20-year career, collecting 564 points (129 goals, 435 assists). Helmer is the AHL’s all-time leader in Calder Cup playoff appearances (159), all-time leader in points by a defenseman and ranks third in AHL history in regular-season games played. He won three AHL championships, including two while serving as captain of the Bears (2009, 2010). Helmer also earned two AHL postseason All-Star Team recognitions was awarded the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award in 2010-11 as the player who best exemplified the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.