The Hershey Bears announced today that Mike Haviland has been named the 24th head coach in the history of the hockey club.
Haviland, 45, now joins elite company as he begins work as the leader of the American Hockey League’s eldest and most storied franchise. Having served as both a head coach and an assistant coach and having won championships at three different levels, Haviland brings 14 years’ worth of professional hockey coaching to Chocolatetown.
"The Hershey Bears have long become synonymous with competing and winning," Bears president/general manager Doug Yingst said. "Mike Haviland has coached his teams to compete and win, and we look forward to having him do the same in Hershey. Of the numerous candidates who applied for this position, we felt Mike was the best man to help our team push toward a 12th championship and we welcome him."
The native of Middletown, N.J., most recently returned to his AHL roots in Hampton Roads, serving as associate coach of the Norfolk Admirals in 2012-13. From 2005 through 2007, Haviland guided the Admirals – then the top affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks – to a record of 93-51-10-6. In those two seasons, the Admirals broke single-season wins and points records, an achievement that earned Haviland the 2007 Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL Coach of the Year.
Haviland went on to lead the Blackhawks’ new AHL affiliate in Rockford during the 2007-08 campaign to a record of 44-26-4-6 and into two rounds of postseason play. Following the 2007-08 season, he moved up to assist behind the Blackhawks’ bench. In a span of four years, he helped guide Chicago to a cumulative mark of 187-101-40, a Central Division title in 2009-10 and the 2010 Stanley Cup championship.
Prior to his time in the AHL and NHL, Haviland spent four seasons with the ECHL’s Trenton Titans (2004-05) and Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (2001-04). He led the Boardwalk Bullies to a Kelly Cup championship in 2003, and just two years later, hoisted the trophy as the Titans’ bench boss. His cumulative record in four ECHL seasons was 172-81-35.
Haviland also had success at the college level. As an assistant coach with Elmira College (NCAA), he helped guide the team to a record of 51-12-2 and two ECAC championships from 1996-1998.
Haviland was originally selected by the New Jersey Devils in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. His playing experience included AHL time with the Binghamton Whalers (1989-90).