The Boston Bruins have added an interesting coaching prospect to the organization, hiring Matt Thomas as an assistant for the Providence Bruins of the AHL. Thomas will join the staff of new head coach Ryan Mougenel, who released the following statement:
We are all thrilled to have Matt joining our staff in Providence. Matt possesses a unique combination of high energy, innovation, and a proven eye for the game. He understands today’s athlete and his focus on communication, teaching, and forming positive relationships speaks volumes about his values as a coach. Matt is a tremendous fit for our group and understands the Bruins’ philosophy and vision that Trent and I are growing. We are eager to work together and look forward to a seamless transition as we plan our collective approach for the upcoming season.
Thomas, 45, has been a head coach since 2004, when he took over the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the ECHL. He has also coached the Fresno Falcons, Stockton Thunder, and most recently the Cincinnati Cyclones in that league, winning the ECHL Coach of the Year award in 2019. He holds the league record for most playoff games ever coached with 108. For five seasons between 2013 and 2018, he was the head coach of the University of Alaska-Anchorage program.
A move to an assistant job with Providence is the next step toward the NHL, but this isn’t a fast track. Thomas began his coaching career in 1998 at the age of 22, just after finishing his senior season at R.I.T where he captained the team. This first AHL opportunity has been a long time coming, even though he’s still relatively young for the coaching world.