The American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild have named Kurt Kleinendorst the first head coach in club history.
Kleinendorst, 52, enters his sixth season as an AHL head coach in 2013-14 with a career record of 169-202-25 (.458) leading the Lowell Devils (2006-09) and Binghamton Senators (2010-12). His best season behind an AHL bench came in 2010-11, when he led the Senators to a record of 42-30-3-5 in the regular season, followed by an impressive playoff run as the Senators upset Manchester, Portland, Charlotte and Houston to win the Calder Cup.
“We are proud to have Kurt Kleinendorst as the first head coach in team history,” said Iowa Wild general manager Jim Mill. “He was part of a Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2003. He has a Calder Cup, a gold medal and a proven track record of developing young players for the National Hockey League. He also understands what the Minnesota Wild need from a development standpoint. Not only is he a good coach, but Kurt is equally a good person, which makes him the right choice to lead our team on and off the ice.”
Prior to joining Binghamton, Kleinendorst was the head coach of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program’s Under-18 team, leading it to a to gold medal at the 2010 IIHF U-18 World Hockey Championship held in Belarus. He also served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2008 IIHF World Hockey Championship in Halifax and Quebec City.
A native of Grand Rapids, Minn., Kleinendorst spent nine seasons with the New Jersey Devils organization, including five years as a member of the team’s scouting staff.
Kleinendorst spent three seasons from 1997-98 to 1999-2000 as general manager and head coach of the Manchester (UK) Storm, leading the team to a league championship while also being recognized as Coach of the Year following the 1998-99 season.
Kleinendorst served two terms, spanning five seasons, as head coach and director of hockey operations for the ECHL’s Raleigh IceCaps, and was named the league’s top coach in 1992-93. He spent the 1994-95 campaign as assistant coach and assistant GM of the International Hockey League’s San Diego Gulls.
In 2012-13, Kleinendorst coached the men’s hockey team at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
Drafted by the New York Rangers in 1980, Kleinendorst played professionally for six seasons between 1983 and 1990, and was a member of the United States national team during their pre-Olympic tour leading up to the 1984 Games in Sarajevo. In four seasons at Providence College, Kleinendorst was an All-American and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.
Kleinendorst and his wife, Deon, have four children: Ryan (28), Kollin (26), Kaitlyn (22) and Jake (17).