September 3, 2013

Bay State native Ftorek makes return to AHL

Robbie Ftorek last coached in the AHL during the 2005-06 season for the Albany Devils. (Getty Images)

The Calgary Flames hired former Boston Bruins coach and Needham, Mass., native Robbie Ftorek as the assistant coach of the Abbotsford Heat, their affiliate in the American Hockey League, last month.

“We are thrilled to be able to add such an experienced coach and teacher as Robbie Ftorek to our organization,” said Flames GM Jay Feaster. “Robbie’s experience at every level of hockey provides our players, and our coaching staffs, an incredible wealth of hockey knowledge on which to draw.”

Ftorek’s coaching résumé includes ranking sixth all-time in head coaching victories in the AHL, compiling a record of 353-310-80 over 11 seasons with the New Haven Nighthawks, Halifax Citadels, Utica Devils and Albany River Rats. He won the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach in both 1994-95 and 1995-96, making him one of two men in the award’s 46-year history to win it in back-to-back seasons.

Ftorek played more than 800 professional games in the NHL, WHA, AHL and CHL and has been an NHL head coach with Los Angeles, New Jersey and Boston. Most recently, Ftorek spent six seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters.

A former U.S. Olympian, Ftorek was enshrined as a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.

Springfield, others cited

Springfield, Mass., was ranked the fifth-best minor-league sports market in the U.S., Sports Business Journal announced in a study released last month.

Each of 235 markets market received a total score based on three category-specific scores: tenure rank, attendance rank and economic rank. Markets were penalized for having teams that folded or moved, and markets that completed construction on new or extensively upgraded minor-league facilities between 2008 and 2013 received extra credit.

Also cracking the top 20 were Providence-Pawtucket, R.I. (12th), which boasts the AHL’s Providence Bruins, and Portland, Maine (13th), which has the AHL’s Portland Pirates.

Hartford-New Britain, Conn. (38th), Bridgeport-Danbury, Conn. (50th), Burlington, Vt. (95th), Norwich-West Haven, Conn. (165th), Worcester, Mass. (172nd), Lowell, Mass. (185th), Brockton, Mass. (197th), Pittsfield, Mass. (206th) and Manchester-Nashua, N.H. (214th) also were ranked.

Locals picked for U-18 series

Six New England natives were chosen for the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team, which played a three-game series against Canada in Lake Placid, N.Y., last month.

Lexie Laing (Marblehead, Mass.) scored two goals in the series finale, a 3-2 win that offset losses in the first two contests. She was joined on the U.S. team by forwards Rebecca Gilmore (Wayland, Mass.), Kenzie Kent (Norwell, Mass.), Caitrin Lonergan (Roslindale, Mass.), Melissa Samoskevich (Sandy Hook, Conn.) and Taylor Wenczkowski (Rochester, N.H.). BU assistant Katie Lachapelle and Boston College assistant Courtney Kennedy served as assistant coaches for the U.S. team.

Bridgton hires Moore

Stan Moore, who’s coached college hockey for nearly 30 years, most recently at Colby, has been hired as the new prep coach at Bridgton (Maine) Academy.

Bridgton began its search for a new coach when Mike Meserve stepped away from the job to focus on his new role as director of activities for students who are not members of a sports team.

Moore began his coaching career as an assistant at Brown before moving to Providence College. His first head coaching job was at Union in 1996, where he was the first rookie head coach to be named ECAC Coach of the Year.

Melrose taps Rush

Samantha Rush has been hired as the girls coach at Melrose (Mass.) High.

She earned All-League and team MVP honors while starring for Wakefield High from 2000-04. She played at Holy Cross and competed internationally in Denmark. She has experience coaching the Austin Prep JV team and with the Islanders Hockey Club.

This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of New England Hockey Journal.

Twitter: @NEHockeyJournal