VEGAS - June 7, 2017 - Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee announced today, June 7, that the organization has hired Rocky Thompson as head coach of the Chicago Wolves, the club's official American Hockey League affiliate.
"We are extremely pleased to introduce Rocky as the head coach of our American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves," said Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee. "As a player, he was competitive, tough, team-oriented and hard working. As a coach, he is now coming off a Memorial Cup Championship season with the Windsor Spitfires and has enjoyed success at multiple levels. Player development is a significant priority for our organization and he has proven to be very capable in that area as well. Rocky is the right Coach to help us win championships in Chicago."
"I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to serve as head coach of the Chicago Wolves," said Chicago Wolves Head Coach Rocky Thompson. "Chicago is a tremendous hockey community, and I look forward to helping the Golden Knights develop top players on and off the ice in front of this dedicated fan base."
"He knows how to win," said Wolves general manager Wendell Young. "He was a tough, hard worker when he played and those characteristics have carried over as a coach. He is meticulous in every area. Everybody I've talked to in the hockey world has given him rave reviews. He's going to be a tremendous asset when it comes to developing players and continuing the Wolves' winning ways."
The 39-year-old Thompson joins the Wolves after serving as head coach of the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League from 2015-17, where he helped guide the team to their third Memorial Cup championship in franchise history this past season. In his first season at the helm, Thompson led the Spitfires to a 40-21-6-1 regular season record and 87 points, a 47-point improvement from a last-place finish the previous season.
Prior to joining the Spitfires, Thompson was an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers in 2014-15 after spending four seasons (2010-14) as an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Barons, Edmonton's AHL affiliate. During his time with the Barons, he helped the team advance to the postseason each year, including back-to-back appearances in the Western Conference Finals in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Before being behind the bench in Oklahoma City, Thompson began his coaching career with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League as an assistant coach from 2007-10.
A native of Calgary, Alberta, Thompson was selected by the Calgary Flames in the third round (72nd overall) in the 1995 NHL Draft. As a player, he played parts of 12 seasons of professional hockey, including 25 NHL games for the Flames (1997-99) and Florida Panthers (2000-02) where he recorded 117 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 566 AHL games, including time with the Saint John Flames (1995-96, 1997-00), Louisville Panthers (1999-01), Hershey Bears (2001-02), San Antonio Rampage (2002-03), Toronto Roadrunners (2003-04), Edmonton Roadrunners (2004-05) and Peoria Rivermen (2005-07).
He and his wife Elizabeth have four children, sons Tyr and Tyme and daughters Taze and True.