Thomas Named Cyclones Head Coach
Cincinnati, OH - The Cincinnati Cyclones, proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's (NHL) Buffalo Sabres and the American Hockey League's (AHL) Rochester Americans, have announced Matt Thomas has been named the team's new head coach.
"I am very happy and honored that my return to the professional hockey coaching ranks is with the Cyclones," said Thomas. "It is no secret that Cincinnati is one of the most highly-coveted jobs in hockey, and I look forward to continuing the high standard the organization has set here. On the ice, we will be the hardest working team night in and night out. We want players who will be proud to be Cyclones and who fully understand and appreciate what it means to be members of this organization."
"Matt exemplifies everything we were looking for in a coach; a fierce desire to win, a passion for taking players to their highest level, and a sense of giving back to the community he lives and works in," remarked Cyclones Vice President and General Manager Kristin Ropp. "I look forward to the next chapter in Cincinnati Cyclones history with Matt Thomas at the helm."
A native of Maple Ridge, BC, Thomas has extensive head coaching experience in the ECHL, spanning 11 seasons with the Atlantic Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons, and Stockton Thunder from 2002-2013. Thomas served two seasons as an assistant coach with Atlantic City, including helping the Boardwalk Bullies to a Kelly Cup Championship in 2003, before assuming the role of head coach and Director of Hockey Operations with the team prior to 2004-2005. He compiled a 42-22-8 mark in his lone season as Atlantic City's bench boss, and also served as the head coach for the 2005 ECHL All-Star Game.
He then moved on to Fresno prior to the 2005-06 campaign, leading the Falcons to a 43-15-14 mark along with a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Over the next two seasons in Fresno, Thomas compiled a 76-41-17 record, with trips to the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs on both occasions. He coached the Falcons during the first half of 2008-09, leading the team to an 18-10-2 mark before the team ceased operations midseason. Thomas was not out of work for long however, as he was named head coach of Stockton shortly after and finished the year with a record of 22-16-3, and a trip to the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Thomas went on to coach the Thunder for four more seasons, amassing a mark of 141-111-36, reaching the post season each year, including a trip to the 2013 Kelly Cup Finals where they fell to the Reading Royals, 4 games to 1. He enters the 2018-19 campaign as the ECHL's sixth-winningest coach with a career record of 342-225-80, just one win back of fifth place all time. He is also the all-time leader in playoff games coached with 97, and ranks third with 49 playoff wins.
"We're excited about adding Matt Thomas to our organization," commented Sabres Assistant General Manager Randy Sexton. "Matt has terrific head coaching experience and has a proven track record of success. After having the opportunity to get to know Matt, it is clear that we are in synch on our development philosophy."
"I'm looking forward to watching our team grow and develop as players and as members of the greater Cincinnati community," continued Thomas. "I feel like our values closely align with those of our affiliates in Buffalo and Rochester when it comes to player development, and I am excited to get to work strengthening our partnership."
Thomas' coaching career also includes stops at the collegiate level, serving a five-year stint at the University of Alaska-Anchorage from 2013-18. He compiled a 42-101-21 record while with the Seawolves, including the team's first .500 or above mark since the 1992-93 season. His coaching career began at the University of Maine where he served as an assistant coach for the Black Bears from 2000-02.
Prior to beginning his coaching career, Thomas played collegiately at the Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T.). The centerman totaled 72 points (25g, 47a) in 102 career games. He also served as team captain during his senior year of 1997-98.
The 2018-19 season is on the horizon, and tickets for First Face-Off are on sale NOW! Call (513) 421-PUCK to secure your spot for opening night, along with information regarding information on season and group ticket packages for this upcoming season.
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