The Ottawa Senators announced today that the club has named Kurt Kleinendorst head coach of its American Hockey League affiliate, the Binghamton Senators. The contract is a two-year agreement and will run through the 2017-18 season.
Kleinendorst, 55, returns to the city where he delivered the franchise’s only Calder Cup championship in 2011. In two years with the B-Sens, Kleindendorst posted a 71-70-8-7 regular season record and went 16-7 during the championship 2011 postseason.
Assistant coach Steve Stirling has also agreed to return to the B-Sens coaching staff, reuniting the pair of coaches that led the team to the Calder Cup championship.
“Kurt has a proven record of being able to balance both development and winning at the AHL level,” said Binghamton Senators general manager Randy Lee. “During his time in the organization our prospects were taught what it takes to be a good professional and how to understand their role as part of a successful team concept. We’re very excited to have him back in the organization.”
“Coaching experience was key to what we wanted to add to the organization this summer and with hirings in Ottawa and now the addition of both Kurt and Steve, we have accomplished that,” said Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. “Kurt’s coaching philosophy fits exactly with what we are hoping to have at the American League level and will be a great compliment to our new staff in Ottawa.”
Following his departure from Binghamton, Kleinendorst spent the 2012-13 season as the head coach of Alabama-Huntsville before spending parts of two seasons as head coach of the AHL’s Iowa Wild. He spent the 2015-16 season as the coach of ERC Ingolstadt of the German league.
Prior to his first stint with the B-Sens, the native of Grand Rapids, Minn., Kleinendorst spent one season as 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.
Kleinendorst spent nine seasons with the New Jersey Devils organization, including three as the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Lowell Devils, from 2006-07 to 2008-09. He also spent three seasons from 1997-98 to 1999-2000 as general manager/coach of the Manchester (UK) Storm and two terms spanning five seasons as head coach/director of hockey operations for the ECHL’s Raleigh IceCaps from 1991-94 and 1995-97 and was named the league’s top coach in 1992-93. He spent the 1994-95 campaign as assistant coach/assistant general manager of the International Hockey League’s San Diego Gulls.
Selected by the New York Rangers with their fourth-round pick (77th overall) in the 1980 NHL Draft, Kleinendorst played professionally for six seasons. He played two seasons in Europe, one with Iserlohn (Germany) and Peliitat (Finland) in 1986-87 and one with the Rotterdam Pandas (Netherlands) in 1987-88. He played professional hockey in North America for parts of five seasons between 1983 and 1990 in the Central Hockey League, IHL and AHL.
In his second term with Binghamton, Kleninendorst becomes eighth coach (and seventh person behind the bench) in franchise history. Kurt and wife, Deon, have four children: Ryan, Kollin, Kaitlyn and Jake.