Thomas Named ECHL Coach of the Year
Cincinnati, OH - The Cincinnati Cyclones, in conjunction with the ECHL, have announced that Cyclones head coach Matt Thomas has been named the recipient of the John Brophy Trophy as ECHL Coach of the Year. He joins former Cyclones head coaches Chuck Weber (2008) and Jarrod Skalde (2013) as the only Cyclones coaches to earn ECHL Coach of the Year honors.
In his first season behind the Cyclones bench, Thomas guided the team to a League-best 51-13-5-3 record for 110 points, earning the team's second-ever Brabham Cup as ECHL regular season champions, along with the team's first division title since the 2012-13 season. The Cyclones achieved a 30-2-2-2 mark on home ice, tying an ECHL record for most home wins and fewest home losses, and Cincinnati also led the League with an average of 3.92 goals scored per game and 2.44 goals-against per 60 minutes.
Thomas was also named head coach of the Western Conference all-stars at this season's CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic in Toledo. It was his third selection as all-star head coach, previously earning the honor in 2005 with Atlantic City and 2009 with Stockton, and his three all-star appearances are tied with Chris Cichocki, Glen Gulutzan, Davis Payne and Jeff Pyle for most in League history.
"Matt Thomas' passion for the game of hockey is palpable and his energy for coaching hockey and growing the sport he loves is felt from the bench and through the halls of the front office," remarked Cyclones General Manager Kristin Ropp. "It is a fitting honor for Matt to be named the recipient of the John Brophy Award."
A native of Toronto, ON, Thomas has now coached for 12 seasons in the ECHL, standing behind benches as an assistant and head coach for the Atlantic Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons, and Stockton Thunder from 2002-2013, in addition to this season with the Cyclones. 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 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 record of 43-15-14 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 record of 141-111-36, reaching the post season each year, including a trip to the 2013 Kelly Cup Finals.
He has a career record of 393-238-88 and stands as the seventh-winningest coach all-time in ECHL history. He is also the all-time leader in playoff games coached with 97, and ranks third with 49 playoff wins.
The John Brophy Award is the trophy presented annually to the ECHL coach selected to have contributed the most to his team's success as selected in a vote of league coaches. The trophy is named for John Brophy, who won a record three ECHL titles with Hampton Roads in 1991, 1992 and 1998, and was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009.
The 2018-19 season has come to an end and the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Smile Direct Club are HERE! The 2018-19 ECHL Brabham Cup Champion Cincinnati Cyclones want YOU along for the ride, and playoff tickets are on sale NOW starting at $18 per seat for single game tickets and $15 per seat for groups of 20 or more! Call (513) 421-PUCK for tickets and more information, and stay on top of all the latest team updates and information on Facebook, Twitter (@CincyCyclones), and Instagram, along with our website, www.cycloneshockey.com!
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