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Larsen promoted, Bednar named Falcons coach

The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed former Springfield Falcons head coach Brad Larsen to a multi-year contract to serve as an assistant coach on head coach Todd Richards’ staff, and have named Jared Bednar head coach of the Falcons, the club’s American Hockey League affiliate.

Originally hired by the Falcons as an assistant coach prior to the 2010-11 season, Larsen was promoted to head coach on May 21, 2012 and guided the club to a 92-45-15 record and a pair of Northeast Division titles in two seasons behind the bench. In 2012-13, he guided the club to a 45-22-5-4 record (99 points), which represented a 21-point improvement over the previous season. The Falcons posted the first 100-point campaign in franchise history in 2013-14, finishing with the AHL’s third-best record at 47-23-1-5.

A 36-year-old native of Nakusp, B.C., Larsen enjoyed a 13-year playing career that saw him register 48 points and 134 penalty minutes in 294 NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers. He also appeared in 384 career AHL contests and reached the Calder Cup Finals with the Chicago Wolves in 2005.

Bednar has served as an assistant coach with the Falcons under Larsen the last two seasons. Prior to joining the Blue Jackets organization, he was head coach of the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen from 2010-12, amassing a record of 81-63-5-7 over the course of his two seasons with the club and leading the team to the Calder Cup Playoffs in 2011. Bednar was an assistant coach with the Abbotsford Heat in 2009-10.

Bednar, 42, spent seven seasons with South Carolina (ECHL), including the last two (2007-09) as head coach and won a league championship in 2009.

The Yorkton, Sask., native skated in 74 career AHL games with the St. John’s Maple Leafs and Rochester Americans during his playing career.