|Kelly Buchberger coached the Springfield Falcons (AHL) last season. (photo: Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
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Ten seasons after playing his last game in the copper and blue, Kelly Buchberger returns to the Edmonton Oilers as a member of the team’s coaching staff. Buchberger, 41, will join Craig MacTavish’s coaching staff as an assistant coach for the 2008-09 season.
Buchberger makes the move to the NHL coaching ranks following a season as head coach of the Springfield Falcons.
In his lone season behind the Oilers’ American Hockey League affiliate’s bench, “Bucky” guided the Falcons to a fifth place finish in the AHL’s Atlantic Division with a 35-35-10 record in 2007-08. It was the first time since 1998-99 that the Falcons had reached the .500 mark and the 35 win season marked the most victories in a season for Springfield since the Falcons won 35 games in 2001-02. Under Buchberger’s guidance the Falcons showed a 21 point improvement over their record of 28-49-3 in 2006-07.
A veteran of 18 National Hockey League seasons, including 13 seasons with the Oilers, Buchberger began his coaching career in 2004-05, serving as Geoff Ward’s assistant coach with the AHL’s Edmonton Road Runners. He served as the Oilers’ Development Coach in 2006-07.
During his 18 NHL seasons, the Langenburg, Saskatchewan native played 1,182 regular season games in a career that began during the 1987 Stanley Cup playoffs with the Oilers and concluded in 2003-04 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored 309 points with 105 goals and 204 assists, while registering 2,297 penalty minutes with Edmonton, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Pittsburgh. He added 10-15-25 with 129 penalty minutes in 97 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
After making his NHL debut with the Oilers during the first three games of the 1987 Stanley Cup Final versus Philadelphia, Buchberger would go on to play 795 regular season games in Edmonton before being claimed by the Atlanta Thrashers in the NHL Expansion Draft on June 25, 1999. He ranks 17th on the Oilers all-time scoring list with 82-158-240 and is the team’s career leader in penalty minutes with 1,747.
Buchberger was named the Oilers ninth captain in 1995-96 and served in that capacity for four seasons. He was Edmonton’s ninth round draft pick in 1985 and was a member of the Oilers 1987 and 1990 Stanley Cup championship teams.