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Devils announce AHL, ECHL coaching staffs

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils
The Devils today set their development coaching staffs, by promoting Rick Kowalsky to head coach of the American Hockey League’s Albany Devils, and naming Kevin Dean the head coach of the ECHL’s Trenton Devils. Additionally, Tommy Albelin will serve as an assistant coach with Albany, while Vince Williams will remain an assistant with Trenton. The announcement was made by Albany/Trenton Devils General Manager Chris Lamoriello. As per club policy, no further terms were disclosed.

“A commitment to winning, as well as the development of our players, has and will always be top priorities,” said Lamoriello. “Both head coaches and assistant coaches have been part of our organization at different levels for a number of years. We are confident in their ability to develop our prospects for the NHL level, both on and off the ice.”

Kowalsky, 38, joins Albany after four seasons as head coach of the ECHL’s Trenton franchise (138-122-28=304pts, .528), where he was the recipient of the 2009 John Brophy Award as the league’s top coach. He was named to the position May 8, 2006, after spending one year as an assistant coach with Norfolk (AHL). Kowalsky’s professional playing career spanned 12 seasons, and included six teams/two leagues in North America. A right wing, he captained the ECHL’s Trenton Titans to the 2005 Kelly Cup Championship in his final season as a player.  Kowalsky participated in the 1995 and 2003 ECHL All-Star Games, serving the North team as captain in 2003. He totaled 221 goals and 329 assists for 550 points and 979 penalty minutes in 516 career regular-season ECHL games with Hampton Roads, Trenton, and Roanoke. Kowalsky served the Express as player/assistant coach while compiling career-high 83 points in 2001-02. He made his pro debut with Cornwall (AHL) in 1993-94. Kowalsky was Buffalo’s tenth choice, and 227th overall selection in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. He helped lead Sault Ste. Marie to back-to-back OHL Championships in 1991 and 1992, and captained the Greyhounds to the 1993 Memorial Cup Championship. Born March 20, 1972 in Simcoe, Ont., Rick and his wife, Debbie, have three children:  Dylan, Sydney, and Ryan.

Dean, 41, is entering his fifth season as a member of the organization’s coaching staff after serving Lowell (AHL) as an assistant coach the past four years. His professional playing career spanned 12 seasons beginning in 1990-91, including eight with the Devils’ organization. Dean appeared in 331 career NHL games with New Jersey, Atlanta, Dallas, and Chicago. The defenseman began his pro career by appearing in seven games with Utica (AHL) in 1990-91 following four seasons of collegiate hockey at the University of New Hampshire (HE). In 1995, Dean was the only player in the organization to be a part of New Jersey’s Stanley Cup Championship, as well as Albany’s Calder Cup Championship. That season, he served the River Rats as captain, was named to the league’s First All-Star Team, and was selected to play in the mid-season All-Star Game. Dean also saw action in 30 games with Cincinnati (ECHL) in 1991-92 and 13 games with Cincinnati (IHL) in 1992-93. He retired as an active player following the 2001-02 season after playing in 76 games with Milwaukee (AHL). Born April 1, 1969 in Madison, WI, Dean represented the United States during the 1988 World Junior Championships, as well as the 1998 World Championships. He was New Jersey’s fourth choice and 86th overall selection in the 1987 Entry Draft. Kevin and his wife, Jill, have four children:  daughters Lilly (11) and Polly (5), and sons K.C. (9) and Charlie (7).

Albelin, 46, joined New Jersey’s coaching staff as an assistant on July 25, 2007 following an 18-year NHL career. His totals showed 44 goals and 211 assists for 255 points in 952 regular-season games with Quebec, New Jersey, and Calgary. Albelin saw action in 539 regular-season games over 12 seasons with the Devils, and was a member of its 1995 and 2003 Stanley Cup Championship teams. He also saw limited AHL action with Utica and Albany during that time.  Albelin re-signed as a free agent July 5, 2001, becoming the fifth player in franchise history to re-join the team. The defenseman’s first stint with the Devils began with a December 12, 1988 trade from the Nordiques’ organization. He made his NHL debut October 8, 1987 after five seasons with Djurgardens (Swe.). Albelin was Quebec’s seventh choice and 152nd overall selection in the 1983 Entry Draft. He played for Sweden at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, 1996 World Cup, five World Championships, two World Junior Championships and two Canada Cup tournaments. Albelin served his country as assistant coach during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Born May 21, 1964 in Stockholm, Swe., Tommy and his wife, Maria, have two children:  son, Adam (20) and daughter, Amanda (14).

Williams, 34, returns for his fifth season as assistant coach of the Devils’ ECHL affiliate following an eight-season playing career, including Trenton’s 2005 Kelly Cup Championship. In 1998-99, he made his pro debut with Columbus (ECHL), while also seeing action with Indianapolis (IHL). A member of Trenton’s 1999-00 inaugural season squad, Williams also saw action in one game with Lowell (AHL) that season. The defenseman’s career regular-season games-played total with Trenton (336) is second most in franchise history, trailing only Scott Bertoli (507). Williams’ ECHL totals show 23 goals and 70 assists for 93 points and 585 penalty minutes in 461 career ECHL games played overall. He spent time in the Sunshine State, including parts of two seasons with Florida (ECHL) from 2001-03. Williams returned to the IHL in 2000-01 during Orlando’s Turner Cup Championship season. He played two seasons (1996-98) at Montreal’s Concordia University prior to his ECHL career. Williams was born November 27, 1975 in Ottawa, Ont.
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