IceRays Name Brent Hughes Head Coach
The Corpus Christi IceRays have named Brent Hughes the club's new head coach, IceRays General Manager Pat Dunn announced Wednesday afternoon. Hughes comes to the IceRays after six seasons as a head coach and a 12-year playing career. Hughes has had tremendous success in the Central Hockey League garnering an all-time Head Coaching record of 208-119-28 - all accomplished with the Austin Ice Bats. Hughes will join the IceRays this week, and make his debut with the team Friday night when they host the Oklahoma City Blazers at the American Bank Center.
Hughes, 42, becomes the eighth Head Coach in IceRays history. He ranks #10 in all-time CHL coaching victories with 208. He gained a reputation as one of the premier coaches in AA-hockey with his consistent success in Austin. Hughes guided the Ice Bats to four consecutive 40+ win seasons and playoff berths to begin his coaching career. In 2002 and 2003, Hughes led Austin to back to back President's Cup Finals. Hughes joins the IceRays this year as a mid-season coaching replacement with 14 games remaining. It's a role he's been introduced to in past years.
After a three-year absence from coaching, in February of 2007 Hughes re-joined the Ice Bats with 21 games remaining in the year. He remained with the team for last season and helped return Austin to the playoffs for the first time since he led them there in 2003. Hughes has made the playoffs every season he's began with a team, and will try to make it six of seven years with the IceRays for the remainder of this season.
"Brent Hughes has a tradition of winning," said Dunn. "It's our plan to have him make that part of the IceRays tradition too. We know it's not an easy job to find someone who can come in at this stage of the season and bring the team success that will carry into future years, but we're confident that Brent can do just that. He's been on our radar for a long time, and we're thrilled to finally have him here in Corpus Christi."
As a player, Hughes had a stellar 12-year career that was spent entirely at the NHL or AAA-level. Throughout his career, he totaled 357 NHL games with the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabers and New York Islanders. In the NHL he amassed 41 goals, 39 assists, 80 points and 831 penalty minutes.
Hughes will host his first practice in Corpus Christi on Thursday morning and will be available to meet and comment to the press at the American Bank Center following the practice at noon.
The IceRays have just five weeks and 14 games left in the regular season. Corpus Christi enters this weekend one point behind the Arizona Sundogs for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Southern Conference, and eight points back of Rio Grande Valley for the number four position. The Rays are in the midst of a six-game home stand and will resume play with a pair of games this weekend at the American Bank Center.
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