Reading , PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League and the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, announced that the organization has extended the contract of Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Karl Taylor through the 2006-07 season. Consistent with team policy, terms of the contract extension were not released.
Last year, in his first season as a pro coach, Taylor led the Royals to a 42-23-7 regular season record (.632 win percentage) and was selected as the co-coach for the American Conference at the ECHL's 2006 All-Star game. Despite having to marshal his team through over 200 transactions during the season, Taylor led the Royals to the organization's second 40-plus win season in team history and third consecutive playoff appearance.
"I'm extremely excited to return to Reading ," Taylor said. "It's great to be with an organization that provides the hockey operations' department with the resources necessary to win a championship. I want to thank everyone within the Royals' organization and ownership for providing me with this opportunity to take care of what I feel is unfinished business in Reading . I look forward to working with my assistant, Jeff Flanagan, and our affiliates as we seek to develop the players within our system and help them advance their careers, while achieving our goal of winning hockey games. Perhaps most of all, I want to express my sincere thanks to our fans for their continuing support. Everyone can rest assured that our entire organization is completely focused on winning it all."
Gordon Kaye, general manager of the Royals, stated, "Based on the level of success that Karl had last season, we understood that he was going to have a number of options available to him in the off season. We're extremely pleased that Karl has decided to return to the Royals. I've grown to know Karl both professionally and personally, and I believe that he has the leadership skills, hockey knowledge and professional relationships needed to win a championship. Karl demands the best of everyone around him; but he's perhaps most demanding on himself. I'm confident that Karl will not settle for anything short of the effort, energy, passion and unwavering commitment that are required to win the Kelly Cup."
Taylor joined the Royals last year serving after serving as the head coach at the University of Waterloo in Ontario for two seasons. While at Waterloo , Taylor rebuilt the men's hockey program into a playoff contender, earning the honor of being selected as the Ontario University Athletics' Coach of the Year, as well as the UW's Imprint Coach of the Year, in 2005.
During his summers at Waterloo , Taylor was also invited to serve as a guest coach in the Los Angeles Kings' summer development program. Prior to taking over at UW, Taylor spent three seasons as head coach at Red Deer College in Alberta , where he was also a member of the kinesiology department's faculty. Taylor began his coaching career in 1997 as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of New Brunswick, which went on to win the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Unions' National Championship that year. Taylor played for five seasons at UNB, serving as an alternate captain for the Varsity Reds during his final three years.
At the conclusion of his college career, Taylor was honored by being selected to the UNB's Ring of Distinction for his athletic achievements, as well as receiving the Mark Jeffery Memorial Award in recognition of his leadership, dedication and commitment to his team.
Last season, under Coach Taylor, the Royals jumped out to one of the best starts in team history, earning Taylor the mid-season honor of being selected as a co-coach for the American Conference at the ECHL's All-Star game in Fresno , California . In fact, at the half-way point last season, the Royals had the best record in team history at 23-11-2.
However, injuries and transactions took their toll down the stretch, as Reading was repeatedly required to play with a short and somewhat patch-worked line-up. Nonetheless, the Royals came into the final week of the regular season with a chance to win the North Division title, but finished in third and faced the Wheeling Nailers in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Despite losing both goaltenders to season ending injuries in the playoffs–starter Cody Rudkowsky went down five minutes into game one of the series–the Royals had a chance to win every game in North Division Semi-Finals but ended up losing three games to one.