Duane Sutter, Director of Player Personnel for the Calgary Flames and Lane Sweeting, President of Abbotsford Heat Hockey Ltd. announced today that Jim Playfair has been appointed head coach of the Abbotsford Heat, the official American Hockey League affiliate of the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League.
“We consider the retention of Jim Playfair for our team to be a tremendous coup,” noted Duane Sutter. “Jim has won at every level and will prove effective in directing both young and veteran players towards winning and honing their skills.”
Playfair joined the Calgary Flames coaching staff in January 2003 as an assistant coach - a position he held until being named the Calgary Flames head coach for the 2006-07 season. Since 2007 Playfair has held the position of associate coach with the Flames.
“The opportunity to retain a coach of Jim Playfair’s calibre represents an important first step towards establishing a winning program in Abbotsford,” suggested Lane Sweeting. “We are looking forward to working with a head coach who will put his brand on this team and help us win.”
This will be Playfair’s second stint as a head coach in the American Hockey League. Playfair was appointed head coach of the Saint John Flames on August 10, 2000 - he spent three seasons in that position. During the 2000-01 season, his first behind the bench in Saint John, Playfair led Saint John to their first American Hockey League Calder Cup championship and was named the Minor League Professional Coach of the year by The Hockey News. Over the course of his tenure in Saint John, Playfair posted a record featuring 83 wins 77 regulation losses, 22 ties and 10 overtime losses.
“I am looking forward to stepping back behind the bench as the head coach, noted Jim Playfair. My goal is to create an identity both on and off of the ice for our players, the fans and for the City of Abbotsford. Abbotsford will be a difficult place for our opponents to play,” added Playfair.
Prior to joining the Saint John organization, Playfair was the head coach of the Michigan K-Wings of the International Hockey League. He served as an assistant coach with the K-Wings for three seasons before being named head coach on January 25, 2000. The balance of Playfair’s head coaching experience includes three seasons as bench boss of the Dayton Bombers of the East Coast Hockey League.
The 45-year old native of Fort St. James, British Columbia played nine seasons of professional hockey including 21 games in the National Hockey League with the Edmonton Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks. Playfair was selected as Edmonton’s first choice, 20th overall, in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft. He captained the Indianapolis Ice (IHL) to the 1990 Turner Cup championship but was forced to retire from playing due to an eye injury suffered during the 1991-92 campaign. As a junior, Playfair played with the Portland Winterhawks for two seasons where he captured a Memorial Cup in 1983.