Roy Sommer of the San Jose Barracuda became the first head coach in American Hockey League history to reach 700 career regular-season victories, hitting the milestone with his team’s 2-1 win in Bakersfield on Sunday evening.
Sommer became the winningest coach in AHL history on Feb. 10, 2016, when he surpassed Fred “Bun” Cook with win number 637. Cook had spent more than 72 years at the top of the leaderboard after moving alone into first place in November 1943.
Sommer, 60, is in his 20th season coaching in the AHL, a tenure spent entirely in the San Jose Sharks organization. The Oakland, Calif., native was named head coach of the Sharks’ top affiliate on May 28, 1998, and has guided the Kentucky Thoroughblades (1998-2001), Cleveland Barons (2001-06), Worcester Sharks (2006-15) and Barracuda (2015- ) over 1,498 games – also a league record.
In the AHL, Sommer has coached 127 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, a list that includes Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Chris Tierney, Dan Boyle, Christian Ehrhoff, Brad Boyes, Josh Gorges, Steve Bernier, Torrey Mitchell, Thomas Greiss, Jason Demers, Andrew Desjardins, Jamie McGinn, Alex Stalock, Justin Braun, Tommy Wingels, Miikka Kiprusoff, Evgeni Nabokov, Jonathan Cheechoo, Ryane Clowe and Douglas Murray.
Prior to being named the Sharks’ AHL head coach, Sommer spent the 1997-98 season as an NHL assistant coach under Darryl Sutter in San Jose. Sommer played 10 seasons of professional hockey after being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1977, scoring a goal in his NHL debut with Edmonton in 1981 and winning a Calder Cup with the Maine Mariners in 1984.