Ken Gernander takes over the reins behind the Hartford bench after having been both a player and assistant coach for the Wolf Pack.
New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that Ken Gernander will assume head coaching responsibilities for the Hartford Wolf Pack, becoming the fifth head coach in franchise history.
"Ken has been an invaluable member of the Wolf Pack organization," said Jim Schoenfeld, Assistant General Manager, Player Personnel, New York Rangers and General Manager, Hartford Wolf Pack. "His dedication, leadership and knowledge of the game have contributed to his success as a player and assistant coach, and will serve him well in his new role as head coach."
Gernander, 38, has served as an assistant coach of the Wolf Pack for two seasons after concluding an illustrious 14-year playing career in April of 2005. A member of the Rangers organization since signing as a free agent in 1994, Gernander served as captain of the club’s top minor league affiliate in each of his last 10 years on the ice (all eight years in Hartford, plus the final two seasons in Binghamton).
The native of Coleraine, Minnesota accumulated 637 points (300 goals, 337 assists) in 986 games with the Fort Wayne Komets of the International Hockey League (IHL) and the Moncton Hawks, Binghamton Rangers and Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL). Gernander is the highest-scoring American-born player (293-331-624) in AHL history and ranks eighth all-time in AHL games played (973).
Gernander is the Wolf Pack’s all-time franchise record-holder in games-played (599) and playoff games-played (78). Gernander also ranks second all-time in goals (160), assists (187) and points (347) in Hartford franchise history. In Calder Cup playoff action, he has recorded 27 goals and 29 assists for 56 points, along with 20 penalty minutes in his 123 career post-season games. On April 26, 2005, he established a new AHL record for most playoff game appearances when he skated in his 121st post-season outing vs. Lowell, surpassing Fred Glover.
A three-time AHL All-Star, Gernander also captained the 1999 PlanetUSA team at the AHL All-Star Classic in Philadelphia. He was twice voted recipient of the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey in 1996 and 2004. As a member of the Wolf Pack, he was voted team MVP in 1998 and recipient of the "Bob Girouard Memorial Character" award in 2002, best defensive forward in 2002 and an American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year nominee in 2004.
A four-year letterman at the University of Minnesota, Gernander was originally drafted by Winnipeg with the 96th overall choice in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. For his NHL career, he skated in 12 contests, all with the Rangers, registering two goals and three assists for five points, along with 15 penalty minutes. In addition, Gernander appeared in 15 Stanley Cup playoff games for New York.
Former Stanley Cup champion and long-time NHL stalwart J.J. Daigneault will continue his duties as an assistant coach with the Wolf Pack.