EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Evansville IceMen, presented by Coors Light, have announced that five time championship coach and NHL veteran, Al Sims has been named the team’s new Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations. Sims replaces Dwight Mullins who posted a record of 9-16-2-2 through the first twenty-nine games of the 2014-15 ECHL season.
“We decided it was time for a fresh start,” IceMen Owner, Ron Geary said. “We have the best fans in the ECHL and we want to make them proud of us. We want to put the best team possible on the ice for them.”
Current Assistant Coach, Josh Beaulieu will serve as Interim Head Coach this weekend while Sims awaits work visa approval. Sims will be in attendance at both IceMen home games this weekend, Friday night against Reading and Saturday night against Kalamazoo. He will be available for interviews with the media during this time.
“I’m excited and thrilled to be in Evansville,” Sims said. “Mr. Geary is first class. So is Mr. Riggs. I couldn’t be more excited to get behind the bench for my first game with the IceMen.”
Sims joins the Evansville IceMen organization with one of the most accomplished playing and coaching careers in North America. The Boston Bruins selected Sims with 47th overall pick in the third round of the 1973 NHL draft.
The Toronto, Ontario native would go on to play 476 regular season and 40 playoff games in the NHL for the Boston Bruins, Hartford Whalers, and Los Angeles Kings. He played a part of his career as Bobby Orr’s defensive partner with the Boston Bruins.
Since the 1989-90 hockey season, Sims has been a very successful coach in the NHL, ECHL, CHL, and IHL. The 61-year-old began his coaching career with the IHL’s Fort Wayne Komets where he qualified for the playoffs in each of his four years there and won the IHL Championship in the 1992-93 season. Sims was named IHL Coach of the Year this season.
He moved on to the National Hockey League where he became an Assistant Coach for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for three years before becoming the Head Coach for the NHL San Jose Sharks for the 1996-97 season.Sims coached some of the NHL’s greatest players, including Owen Nolan, Ed Belfour, and Paul Kariya.
After his NHL tenure, Sims went on to coach the Milwaukee Admirals (IHL); Reading Royals (ECHL); Corpus Christi Rayz (CHL); and Fort Worth Brahmas (CHL). Al would then return to the Fort Wayne Komets in 2007-08 where in six years he posted a remarkable record of 256 wins and 132 losses in the IHL, CHL, and ECHL. The Komets would win the League Championship four more times under his leadership in 2007-08; 2008-09; 2009-10; and 2012-13.
For the past year and a half, Sims has coached in the GMHL (Greater Metro Junior Hockey League) in Ontario. During the 2013-14 season he led the sixth place Bradford Rattlers to the GMHL Championship Finals.
“I feel we have the talent to win,” Sims said. “I just told them it’s a new start for them. They have what it takes. They just need some direction.”
Sims will be in attendance as the IceMen will clash with the Reading Royals in their first game of 2015 at the Ford Center on Friday Jan. 2. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Evansville’s next game in Fort Wayne is on Friday, January 16.
Get to the game early because the first 1,000 kids & under will receive a free youth jersey courtesy of Old National Bank.
Evansville will wrap up its three game home stand by hosting the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday night. It will be Finish the Fight Night with American Cancer Society. The first 6,500 fans will receive a free IceMen T-Shirt.