The New Jersey Devils have hired Rick Kowalsky as an assistant coach, adding him to John Hynes’ staff for the upcoming season. Kowalsky had been the head coach of the Binghamton (and Albany) Devils, winning Coach of the Year in the AHL for the 2015-16 season. Hynes had this to say about the addition:
Rick will be a great addition to our team and this is well-deserved. He and I have had a strong relationship over the past three seasons and he’s done an excellent job in developing our young players. Rick is a high-energy, hard-working coach, great communicator and a tactician who has a great mind for the game.
The hiring leaves the AHL Devils without a head coach for the time being, but adds a knowledgeable voice to the NHL group and one with plenty of first-hand experience with some of their young players. New Jersey didn’t add much this offseason, which should give some of their minor league standouts a chance to crack the NHL roster in training camp. Kowalsky will be a big part of making that transition a smooth one, and helping New Jersey remain deep enough to compete in the Metropolitan Division.
- It won’t just be Kowalsky though, as the Devils also announced that Mike Grier has been hired as an assistant coach with the NHL club. Grier, a long-time NHL player with over 1,000 regular season games under his belt, has been working as a pro scout for the Chicago Blackhawks but will now get his first professional coaching experience. The 43-year old was actually teammates with Hynes back at Boston University in the mid-’90s, which likely led to this opportunity with the Devils.
- The Carolina Hurricanes have given an up-and-coming coaching prospect his next opportunity, hiring Ryan Warsofsky as an assistant coach for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. Warsofsky is only 30 years old, but was the successful head coach of the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL the past two seasons. He took that team to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2017, and posted an 88-44-12 record during his time behind the bench. Expected to quickly climb the hockey coaching ladder, Warsofsky actually may have to coach against his brother David Warsofsky who is in the Colorado Avalanche organization and expected to spend the majority of the year in the AHL.