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Michael Leone Named Head Coach of the Rochester Americans

June 6, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Rochester Americans News Release

(Rochester, NY) - Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams and Rochester Americans general manager Jason Karmanos announced today the appointment of Michael Leone as head coach of the American Hockey League franchise.

An introductory press conference with Amerks head coach Michael Leone and general manager Jason Karmanos will be held via Zoom on Monday, June 10 at 11 a.m. Information on how to access the press conference will be distributed one hour prior to the event.

"I am pleased to welcome Mike Leone as the head coach of the Rochester Americans," said Adams. "The Amerks head coach plays a crucial role in the overall success and growth of our organization, and after a rigorous interview process, it became clear that Mike was the right individual for the job. His development mindset and professional versatility over the course of his career were just some of the many qualities that stood out as we searched for an individual to continue focusing on combining both winning and development in Rochester."

"I am thrilled to welcome Mike to our organization and look forward to working with him as we continue to build a foundation of success in Rochester," said Karmanos. "Throughout the interview process, Mike differentiated himself from other candidates with his development background, inherent feel for the game, and growth mindset. I am confident in Mike's leadership and ability to guide our players both on and off the ice, while continuing a culture in which players are proud to wear the Amerks sweater."

"I'm extremely grateful and humbled to be a part of the Buffalo Sabres organization as the next head coach of the Rochester Americans," said Leone. "I want to thank Kevyn Adams and Jason Karmanos for giving me the opportunity to lead the organization and believing in me. I look forward to meeting everyone in the organization and helping our prospects continue to grow and develop on and off the ice."

Set to become the 34th head coach in the 68-year history of the franchise, Leone embarks on his AHL head coaching career following two seasons as head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League. His previous coaching experience also includes a successful three-year stretch as an assistant coach at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program (NTDP), as well as brief stints at both the collegiate and professional levels.

Leone amassed a 66-41-10-7 record in his two seasons with Green Bay, leading the Gamblers to back-to-back 30-plus win seasons as well as consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in over a decade. Leone piloted Green Bay's resurgence through the 2022-23 campaign, helping the team finish with the most wins (32) and points (71) since 2016-17. The following year saw the Gamblers capture two more wins and earn a third-place finish in the USHL's Eastern Conference standings, culminating with a return trip to the postseason for the second straight year.

Before joining the Gamblers, Leone served as an assistant coach for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program from 2019-20 to 2021-22, alternating duties between the U.S National U18 and U17 Teams. He also spent time as an assistant coach for the Bowling Green State University men's ice hockey team (2018-19) and for the Quad City Mallards of the ECHL (2017-18).

During his three seasons with the NTDP, Leone helped implement a successful development model that produced an astounding 41 NHL Draft picks, including 13 future first-round selections, four of which were chosen in the opening round of last year's draft.

A native Dearborn Heights, Michigan, Leone has extensive coaching experience at the international level, most recently serving as an assistant coach for the U.S. Junior Select team in 2023. He served in the same capacity with the 2022 U.S. Under-18 Men's Select Team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and at the 2021 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament, where he helped guide the U.S. to the championship. Additionally, Leone was an assistant coach at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship, was behind the bench for Team USA's 2019 Under-17 Four Nations championship-winning team and for the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, where the U.S. placed second.

Leone played three years for the Western Michigan University before embarking on a four-year professional career in the ECHL split between the Kalamazoo Wings (2012-13) and Toledo Walleye (2014-17), along with one season overseas with Villard-de-Lans in France. He also played three seasons of junior hockey in the North American Hockey League with the St. Louis Bandits.

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