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 Springfield Thunderbirds

Former T-Birds Coach Drew Bannister Named 27th Head Coach in Blues History

May 7, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Springfield Thunderbirds News Release


ST. LOUIS, MO - St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the team has signed a two-year contract with Drew Bannister to make him the 27th head coach in franchise history.

Bannister, 50, was originally named Blues interim head coach on December 12, 2023. In 54 regular-season games, he led the Blues to a 30-19-5 record (65 pts) which stood as the 12th-best points percentage overall during that span. The Blues also posted an 18-9-2 record at Enterprise Center, which ranked as the 10th-best home mark. Overall, Bannister guided the team to significant improvements in several categories, including a climb from 23rd to 12th (2.87) in goals-against per game, 31st to 13th (22.8) in power play, 20th to 13th (79.4%) in penalty kill, and 21st to 16th in the final regular-season standings (43-33-6, 92 pts). Ultimately, the Blues saw an 11-point improvement from 2022-23 (37-38-7, 81 pts), finishing with their 15th winning season in the past 16 years and their 21st campaign of 90 points or better.

A native of Sudbury, Ontario, Bannister has spent the past six seasons in the Blues organization. Prior to being named interim head coach, he served three seasons with the Blues' AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, where he guided the team to a 93-58-19 regular-season record. He also led the Thunderbirds to consecutive playoff appearances, including 2021-22, when they won the Eastern Conference and reached the Calder Cup Finals. He also served time with previous Blues AHL affiliates, including as head coach of the San Antonio Rampage (2018-20) and as an associate coach with the Utica Comets (2020-21). Bannister's coaching career began in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), where he spent three seasons as an assistant with Owen Sound (2012-15) and three as head coach with the Soo Greyhounds (2015-2018).

As a player, Bannister was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 and enjoyed a career that spanned over 20 years. Overall, he dressed 164 NHL regular-season games between the Lightning, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, and New York Rangers, before finishing his career in Europe.

Fans can reserve seats for Thunderbirds' hockey action in the 2024-25 season with a ticket membership by calling (413)-739-GOAL (4625) or visiting www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.


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