Newark, NJ - The New Jersey Devils today named Rick Kowalsky as an assistant coach. Kowalsky will join Assistant Coaches Alain Nasreddine and Mike Grier and Goaltending Coach Roland Melanson on John Hynes' staff. The announcement was made by Devils' Executive Vice President/General Manager Ray Shero.
"Rick will be a great addition to our team and this is well-deserved," said Hynes. "He and I have had a strong relationship over the past three seasons and he's done an excellent job in developing our young players. Rick is a high-energy, hard-working coach, great communicator and a tactician who has a great mind for the game."
Kowalsky, 46, just completed his eighth season as head coach of the AHL Devils (Albany, Binghamton). He led the franchise to back-to-back playoff berths in 2015-16 and 2016-17. In 2015-16, the club had its most successful season to date, with 46 wins and 102 points, earning him the AHL Coach of the Year Award. Over his AHL coaching career, he has a record of 281 wins, 249 losses and 82 overtime/shootout losses in 612 games.
Kowalsky began his head coaching career in the ECHL during the 2006-07 season. He served four seasons as head coach of the ECHL's Trenton franchise where he received the 2009 John Brophy Award as the league's top coach.
As a right wing, his professional playing career spanned 12 seasons with six teams, spending time both the AHL and ECHL. While in the ECHL, he captained the 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 as the North team captain in 2003. Over the course of his ECHL playing career, Kowalsky totaled 221 goals and 329 assists for 550 points and 979 penalty minutes in 516 career regular-season games with Hampton Roads, Trenton and Roanoke. He was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in January 2017.
Kowalsky played junior hockey in Sault Ste. Marie, leading the Greyhounds to back-to-back OHL Championships in 1991 and 1992. The following season he captained the Greyhounds to the 1993 Memorial Cup Championship. Born March 20, 1972 in Simcoe, Ont., and drafted as Buffalo's tenth choice, 227th overall, in the 1992 Entry Draft, Rick and his wife, Debbie, have three children: Dylan, Sydney and Ryan.