(WINDSOR, ON) – With the anticipated move by Craig Berube from the Chicago Wolves to the St Louis Blues, the AHL franchise was in need of a new head coach. Who better than Rocky Thompson, who most recently led the Windsor Spitfires to the supremacy of junior hockey?
The Spitfires and Wolves confirmed yesterday that Thompson will be moving on from behind the Windsor bench. The Wolves are a minor-league club which has just switched affiliation to the NHL expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
In 2001, the Wolves joined the AHL and has successively been affiliated with the Atlanta Thrashers, Vancouver Canucks, and Blues. They were eliminated from the playoffs last season by the Grand Rapids Griffins.
“We are extremely pleased to introduce Rocky as the head coach of our American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves,” Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee announced. “As a coach, he is now coming off a Memorial Cup Championship season with the Windsor Spitfires and has enjoyed success at multiple levels. Player development is a significant priority for our organization and he has proven to be very capable in that area as well.”
Thompson, 39, is leaving the OHL after navigating Windsor to its third Memorial Cup championship, in just his second year as head coach. In his first year at the helm, Thompson led the Spitfires to a 40-21-6-1 record, a 47-point improvement from a last-place finish the previous season.
“I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to serve as head coach of the Chicago Wolves,” Thompson said in an issued statement. “Chicago is a tremendous hockey community, and I look forward to helping the Golden Knights develop top players on and off the ice in front of this dedicated fan base.”
Thompson becomes the 10th Wolves head coach as the Spitfires begin a search for his replacement. GM Warren Rychel has given himself a 3-week timeframe to do so.