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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes



GLENDALE, ARIZONA --- Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Michael Barnett announced today that the Coyotes have signed former NHL defenseman Ulf Samuelsson to a multi-year contract to serve as an assistant coach for head coach Wayne Gretzky's staff.  As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

"We have a strong group of good young defensemen and felt it would be very beneficial to have them learn the game and be coached by a former NHL blueliner," said Barnett.

Samuelsson, 42, joins the Coyotes organization from the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), the New York Rangers' top minor league affiliate, where he served as an assistant coach in 2005-06. Samuelsson, who was responsible for handling Hartford's blueline, helped lead the team to the Atlantic Division Finals with a 48-24-2-6 record. The Wolf Pack finished the regular season with 104 points, ranking them second in the Atlantic Division, third in the Eastern Conference and sixth overall in the league.

"Ulf was a top defenseman in the NHL for 17 years, and won two Stanley Cups," said Gretzky. "He was a punishing hitter and a fierce competitor. As a former teammate, I know firsthand how he played the game with intelligence and passion. We look forward to him working with our young defensemen and helping them develop into better players. He will be a valuable addition to our coaching staff."

Regarded by many in the NHL as one of the hardest hitters the league has ever seen and a consistent, hard working defenseman, Samuelsson was drafted by the Hartford Whalers (4th choice, 67th overall) in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to play 17 NHL seasons and 1,080 career NHL games with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, registering 57 goals and 275 assists for 332 points, along with 2,453 penalty minutes. He was a member of the 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup Championship teams in Pittsburgh and also was a member of the NHL All-Star team for Rendez-Vous '87 that competed against the Soviet Union. Samuelsson retired from the NHL in 1999-2000 after playing 49 games with the Philadelphia Flyers.

A native of Fagersta, Sweden, Samuelsson represented his country in several international competitions, including three World Junior Championships in 1982, 1983 and 1984; two World Championships in 1985 and 1990 as well as the 1991 Canada Cup. In 1998, Samuelsson was chosen to represent Sweden at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Prior to joining the National Hockey League, he played three seasons with Leksand of the Swedish Elite League.

The Coyotes also announced that associate coach Rick Bowness will not be returning to the organization. Bowness' contract expired after the 2005-06 season.

"Rick contributed daily to this organization," said Barnett. "He is a consummate pro and a very capable NHL coach. Only because of our need for a former defenseman on our staff have we elected to make this coaching change. We wish Rick and his family well."

Bowness spent the past seven seasons with the Coyotes organization including last season (2005-06) when he served as an associate coach on Wayne Gretzky's staff. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach for the Coyotes for five seasons and in 2003-04, also served as head coach on an interim basis for the final two months of the regular season.

The 50-year-old Bowness joined the Coyotes in 1999 after a three-year stint with the New York Islanders coaching staff.  He has served as a head coach for the Winnipeg Jets, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, Boston Bruins and Phoenix Coyotes.

Prior to his coaching career, he played seven seasons (1975-82) in the NHL as a right wing with Atlanta, Detroit, St. Louis and Winnipeg.  He played in 173 games, recording 18-37-55 and 191 penalty minutes.  Bowness was originally drafted by the Atlanta Flames in the 2nd round (26th overall) of the 1975 Entry Draft.

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