Todd Richards has been named head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), it was announced Thursday by Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Ray Shero.
Richards, 39, comes to the Penguins after spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Admirals. During that time the Admirals made four playoff appearances, advancing to the Calder Cup Finals twice. Milwaukee captured the league’s championship by sweeping the Penguins in four games in 2004.
“Todd was an extremely smart player, and has proven to have one of the brightest young coaching minds in the AHL,” Assistant General Manager Chuck Fletcher said. “His record of success, both as a player and coach, will be a great asset when developing our future in Wilkes-Barre.”
A proven winner at every level, Richards joined the Admirals coaching staff after a successful 13-year professional career.
"Todd Richards has been a big reason for the success that the Milwaukee Admirals have had these past three seasons," said Claude Noel, Head Coach of the Milwaukee Admirals. "He's a passionate, confident young coach who will be successful in teaching the Penguins prospects how to become good pro players. Our organization is excited for him and he will be missed!”
A defenseman during his playing days, Richards was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round (33rd overall) of the 1985 NHL Entry Draft, and began his career with the club’s AHL affiliate in Sherbrooke during the 1989-90 season.
The Crystal, Minnesota, native was traded to the Hartford Whalers organization early the next season, spending the majority of the campaign with the Springfield Indians, with whom he captured a Calder Cup title. He also made his NHL debut with the Whalers during the season, recording four assists and two penalty minutes in two games.
Richards joined the International Hockey League’s Las Vegas Thunder prior to the 1993-94 season, and was named the league’s top defender as a member of the team during the 1994-95 campaign. He spent the next six seasons as a member of the Orlando Solar Bears, captaining the squad for four seasons and winning and IHL championship with the club in 2000-01, the league’s final year of existence.
Richards concluded his playing career with Servette Geneve of Switzerland in 2001-02, helping the club to a Swiss B League title. He was also singled out for his individual contributions, as he was named the league’s top defenseman.
Prior to turning pro, Richards spent four seasons at the University of Minnesota. He was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association rookie of the year in 1985-86, was a member of the WCHA Second All-Star Team three consecutive seasons (1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89) and served as team captain during his senior season. During his collegiate career, the Golden Gophers won two WCHA championships (1987-88 and 1988-89) and were NCAA runners-up once, falling to Harvard in the 1989 title game.
Richards and his wife, Maryann, are the parents of sons Zachary and Justin.