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Leach, Whitfield named to Providence coaching staff

Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced that the Bruins have hired Jay Leach and Trent Whitfield as assistant coaches of the Providence Bruins. Leach and Whitfield will serve on the coaching staff of head coach Kevin Dean, who was named to his position on July 18, 2016. Leach will be working primarily with the team’s defensemen while Whitfield will work primarily with the team’s forwards.


Leach, 36, recently served as assistant coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2015-16, helping the team advance to the quarterfinals of the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs.


Leach enjoyed a successful playing career, seeing action in the ECHL, AHL, and NHL from 2001-13. He appeared in 70 games at the NHL level with the New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Boston Bruins, registering three points, one goal and two assists with 60 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound defenseman also compiled 25 goals and 62 assists for 87 points with 608 penalty minutes and a plus-34 rating at the AHL level with the Albany Devils, Worcester Sharks, Lowell Devils, Portland Pirates, Norfolk Admirals, Providence Bruins, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and Springfield Falcons. He served as captain of the Worcester Sharks in 2010-11 and the Albany Devils in 2012-13, and was also an alternate captain for the Albany Devils in 2011-12.  .


The Syracuse, New York native was originally selected by the Arizona Coyotes in the fifth round (115th overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.


Whitfield, 39, recently served as assistant coach of the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2015-16. The previous season he was the assistant coach of the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2014-15.


Whitfield enjoyed a successful 15-year playing career at the ECHL, AHL, and NHL levels. The 5-foot-11, 209-pound forward skated in 194 NHL games with the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, and N.Y. Rangers, compiling 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points with 104 penalty minutes. He also made 18 NHL playoff game appearances, including four with the Bruins. Whitfield played in 812 games at the AHL level with the Providence Bruins, Peoria Rivermen and Portland Pirates, totaling 247 goals and 349 assists for 596 points with 564 penalty minutes.


Whitfield served as a captain on six teams, in addition to his one season as an alternate captain for HC Bolzano in 2013-14. He wore the “C” for the Providence Bruins in 2009-10, 2011-12 and 2012-13, for the Peoria Rivermen in 2008-09 and for the Spokane Chiefs (WHL) in 1996-97.


The Alameda, Saskatchewan native was originally selected by the Bruins in the fourth round (100th overall) of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.