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Trenton's Kowalsky wins ECHL coach of year

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils
Kowalsky – The ECHL announced on Monday that Rick Kowalsky of the Trenton Devils is the 2008-09 recipient of the John Brophy Award.

The John Brophy Award is the trophy presented annually to the ECHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success as selected in a vote of league coaches. The trophy is named for John Brophy, who won a record three ECHL titles with Hampton Roads in 1991, 1992 and 1998, and was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009.

Kowalsky led the Devils to a 37-14-2-4 record since November 27, when they were 3-11-0-1 and in seventh place in the North Division. Trenton finished second in the North Division at 40-25-7 and 87 points to qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the eighth time in 10 seasons. The 40 wins are the most since 2004-05 when Trenton won the Kelly Cup with Kowalsky as team captain and are the fourth most in team history.

In his third season behind the Devils bench, Kowalsky is 105-92-19 in the regular season and 2-3 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The 37-year-old returned to the capital city in 2006-07 after spending one season with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League as an assistant coach for former Trenton head coach and current Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland. The Admirals finished 43-29-4-4 and set a team record with 94 points while tying the team record for wins.

Kowalsky is the second coach in Trenton history to win the John Brophy Award, joining Troy Ward, who won the accolade for his work in 2000-01, leading Trenton to the Brabham Cup for the best regular-season record in the ECHL.
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