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McGill appointed head Knight

The Calgary Flames announced today that Ryan McGill has been named the first head coach of the AHL’s Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights.

“We are pleased to add Ryan to our development program”, said Flames general manager and head coach Darryl Sutter. “Ryan has had success coaching in major junior and the AHL. Along with [Knights assistant coach] Scott Allen, they will perform a valuable role in the future of the Calgary Flames.”

“Ryan McGill brings instant credibility and valuable experience to our hockey club in our important inaugural season,” said Knights team president Doug Soetaert. “He provides us veteran leadership behind the bench and guarantees us a well prepared, hard working and competitive team. We look forward to his contributions as our coach and in the Omaha community.”

The 36-year-old native of Sherwood Park, Alta., has had an impressive coaching career both at the junior and professional level. During the past three seasons behind the Hartford Wolf Pack bench, he compiled a record of 127-86-27 (.585). Last season he led the Wolf Pack to a franchise-best 50 wins, going 50-24-3-3 for 106 points. The club also registered a team-record 30 home victories. In addition, he guided the team to the 2003-04 regular season Eastern Conference title and finished tied for first place overall with a 44-24-12-2 mark for 102 points. That team fell just short of a trip to the Calder Cup Finals, losing in overtime of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

“This is a very exciting day for me and my family,” said McGill. “I am thrilled to join the Calgary Flames organization and to be provided with the opportunity to lead the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights. I look forward to an exciting inaugural season for our hockey club at the Civic Auditorium.”

Prior to joining the Wolf Pack, McGill coached 350 games in the Western Hockey League, capping it off by steering the Kootenay Ice to the 2001-02 Memorial Cup title, the championship of all of Canadian Major Junior hockey. A second-round draft choice of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1987 NHL Draft, he played a total of 151 career NHL games over a seven year career with the Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers. His professional playing career also included stints in the AHL with Halifax and Hershey.

As a player in the Blackhawks development system, he was a member of the 1990 IHL champion Indianapolis Ice, where he was coached by current Flames GM/coach Darryl Sutter and was a teammate of current Flames assistant coach Jim Playfair.