The Edmonton Oilers have named Kelly Buchberger as head coach of their American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Falcons.
Buchberger replaces Geoff Ward, who resigned his post as head coach of the Falcons to accept the role of an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins on August 1st. View photos from today's media availability with Kelly Buchberger and Kevin Prendergast.
“This is a great opportunity for Kelly,” stated Oilers General Manager, Kevin Lowe. “Kelly has worked with many of the young players in our organization and has been invaluable in their development as professionals.”
This will be the first head coaching position for Buchberger, a veteran of 18 National Hockey League seasons, including 13 seasons with the Oilers. He previously served as an assistant coach to Ward with the AHL’s Edmonton Road Runners in 2004-05. The 40-year-old native of Langenburg, Saskatchewan is very familiar with many of the players he will be coaching in Springfield in the upcoming season, having worked with Edmonton’s young prospects in the professional ranks as well as junior and college players, in his role as the Oilers’ Development Coach during the 2006-07 season.
Buchberger will work closely with Jeff Truitt, who was named the Falcons’ assistant coach on June 13th. Lowe feels that both Buchberger and Truitt will benefit from working with each other. “Kelly brings a wealth of experience to the table from his playing days in the NHL, while Jeff has a solid technical background from his coaching experience in junior.”
During his 18 NHL seasons, Buchberger 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. “Bucky” ranks 15th 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.
With Buchberger’s move to Springfield, Bob Mancini returns to the Oilers as Development Coach. Mancini, who will be based out of his home in Saginaw, Michigan, will work the with Edmonton’s prospects in both the American Hockey League and ECHL and with Oilers draft picks in the junior and college ranks.
Mancini, who previously was a member of Edmonton’s scouting staff for four seasons between 2000-01 and 2003-04, most recently served as the General Manager and head coach of the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League. Mancini guided the Spirit for three seasons from 2004-05 to 2006-07, leading Saginaw to playoff berths the past two seasons.
He also has coaching experience in the collegiate ranks, serving as head coach of the NCAA’s Ferris State Bulldogs (1990-91 to 1991-92) and Michigan Tech Huskies (1993-94 to 1995-96).