The New York Rangers announced today that the team has named Kris Knoblauch Head Coach of the Rangers' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. Knoblauch is the seventh head coach in Wolf Pack history.
Knoblauch, 40, joins the Rangers organization with 13 seasons of coaching experience, including parts of seven seasons as a head coach. Most recently, he served as an Assistant Coach with the Philadelphia Flyers for the past two seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19). Prior to joining the Flyers, Knoblauch served as a Head Coach for seven consecutive seasons (2010-11 - 2016-17), first with the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2010-11 and 2011-12, and then with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for parts of five seasons from 2012-13 - 2016-17. Over Knoblauch's seven seasons as a head coach with Kootenay and Erie, his teams posted a 298-130-16-13 record in 457 regular season games (.684 points percentage). In his first season with Kootenay in 2010-11, Knoblauch guided the team to a 46-21-1-4 record (97 points) in the regular season and helped the team win the WHL Championship, as the Ice won 16 of 19 WHL playoff games.
In Knoblauch's four full seasons with Erie (2013-14 - 2016-17), the Otters posted a 204-58-7-3 record (.768 points percentage). Erie won at least 50 games in all four seasons, becoming the first team in the history of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL; comprised of the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Western Hockey League) to post four consecutive 50-win seasons. During Knoblauch's tenure with Erie, the Otters won the OHL Championship in 2016-17, won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy for having the OHL's best regular season record in back-to-back seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17), and in addition to their Championship in 2016-17, also advanced to the OHL Championship in 2014-15. Knoblauch received the Matt Leyden Trophy as the OHL's Coach of the Year in 2015-16, and he was named to the OHL's Second All-Star Team in 2013-14. Over his seven seasons as a head coach in either the OHL or WHL, Knoblauch played a key role in the development of numerous players who are currently in the NHL, including Connor McDavid, Alex DeBrincat, Sam Reinhart, Dylan Strome, Andre Burakovsky, Anthony Cirelli, Erik Cernak, Connor Brown, and Travis Dermott.
Prior to becoming being named Kootenay's Head Coach, the Imperial, Saskatchewan native served as an Assistant Coach with Kootenay for three seasons (2007-08 - 2009-10). He began his coaching career as an Assistant Coach with the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL for one season (2006-07). In addition, Knoblauch has coached in several international tournaments. He served as an Assistant Coach with Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, helping Canada earn a silver medal. Knoblauch also served as the Head Coach for Canada-Red at the 2015 World U17 Hockey Challenge.
Knoblauch was selected by the New York Islanders in the seventh round, 166th overall, of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He played parts of four seasons of junior hockey in the WHL (1995-96 - 1998-99) with the Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton/Kootenay Ice, and Lethbridge Hurricanes, followed by five seasons (1999-00 - 2003-04) at the University of Alberta. Knoblauch, a forward, registered 117 points (38 goals, 79 assists) in 102 games at the University of Alberta, and he helped the school win a National Championship in his first season in 1999-00.