Travis Green is going to the AHL All-Star Classic, and he won’t have far to go to get there.
Green, the second-year head coach of the Utica Comets, has earned one of the two Western Conference coaching berths for the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino, which will be held January 25-26 in Utica, N.Y.
Green has earned the honor because the Comets are guaranteed to have the best record in the West at the pre-determined deadline, the end of play on Dec. 31. Following Friday’s 2-1 win over Adirondack, Utica has a record of 20-5-5-0, good for a .750 points percentage and a conference-leading 45 points.
It will be the first All-Star appearance for Green, who guided the Comets to a 35-32-5-4 record in 2013-14, tying for ninth in the conference after beginning their inaugural season with 10 consecutive losses. Since Jan. 18, Green has led Utica to a mark of 44-17-8-1 (.693) in 70 games.
Before joining the Comets, Green, 44, had most recently served as the assistant general manager and interim head coach of the 2012-13 Western Hockey League champion and Memorial Cup runner-up Portland Winterhawks. As head coach, he helped Portland to a record of 37-8-2 in the regular season, earning the Scotty Munroe Trophy as the WHL’s top regular-season team. He led the Winterhawks to a league championship before falling in the final game of the Memorial Cup to Halifax.
Prior to serving as interim head coach, Green served as assistant coach and assistant GM for the Winterhawks from 2008 through 2012-13. As assistant coach, Green helped the Winterhawks to a record of 160-99-8-7 and three consecutive league finals appearances, making the playoffs all but one season behind the bench.
A native of Castlegar, B.C., Green played 970 games over 14 seasons in the NHL with the New York Islanders, Anaheim, Phoenix, Toronto and Boston. Originally drafted in 1989, Green played 164 games over his first three professional seasons in the AHL with the Capital District Islanders.
The first Eastern Conference coaching berth is down to a three-team race between Manchester’s Mike Stothers, Syracuse’s Rob Zettler and Springfield’s Jared Bednar.
One additional head coach from each conference will be selected by the American Hockey League to join the two coaching staffs for the event.