Thomas Named Western Conference All-Stars Head Coach
Cincinnati, OH - Cincinnati Cyclones head coach Matt Thomas has been selected as the head coach for the Western Conference All-Stars for the upcoming 2019 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic. He was selected as the Western Conference bench boss by virtue of the Cyclones having the top winning percentage in the conference, as the Cyclones are 23-7-2-2, and lead the Central Division with 50 points while owning the league's top winning percentage at .735. This year's All-Star Classic is being hosted by the Toledo Walleye on Monday, January 21 at 7 p.m. ET at the Huntington Center, and the game will air live exclusively on NHL Network.
A native of Maple Ridge, BC, Thomas was hired by the Cyclones in early August, replacing former head coach Matt Macdonald who was named assistant coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins; American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. Thomas has extensive head coaching experience in the ECHL as an assistant and a head coach, spanning 12 seasons with the Atlantic Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons, and Stockton Thunder from 2002-2013, and currently 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 in Atlantic City 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 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 postseason each year, including a trip to the 2013 Kelly Cup Finals. He is the ECHL's seventh-winningest coach with a career record of 365-232-84, and he is also the all-time leader in playoff games coached with 97 and ranks third with 49 playoff wins.
Thomas is coaching in the All-Star Game for the third time, after previously earning the honor in 2005 with Atlantic City and 2009 with Stockton, which is tied for the most in ECHL history, joining Chris Cichocki, Glen Gulutzan, Davis Payne and Jeff Pyle.
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