Cunneyworth returning to Amerks

Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray announced today that Randy Cunneyworth has been named head coach of the Rochester Americans, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Sabres.

“We are happy to have Randy Cunneyworth move into the role of head coach of the Rochester Americans,” said Murray. “Randy has already established himself as a valuable member of our hockey department in his previous role as development coach, and his track record for winning in the AHL and developing young players make him the ideal candidate to lead the Amerks.”

Cunneyworth, 54, returns for his second stint as head coach of the Amerks after guiding the team for eight seasons from 2000-08. He also served as head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2010-11, and shows a career record of 350-302-68, ranking eighth all-time in both coaching victories and games coached (720).

Cunneyworth has led his AHL teams to four 40-win seasons, three division titles and seven trips to the Calder Cup Playoffs. In 2004-05, he led Rochester to a 51-19-4-6 record (112 points) and the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s top team in the regular-season standings, and earned the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the league’s outstanding coach.

In the NHL, Cunneyworth served as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers (2008-10) and Montreal Canadiens (2011-12), and also served as interim head coach of the Canadiens for 50 games in 2011-12. He returned to the Sabres in 2013 as a professional scout, and spent last season as the organization’s development coach.

As a player, Cunneyworth had an NHL career that spanned parts of 16 seasons, including three as team captain of the Ottawa Senators. He began his NHL career with the Sabres in 1980-81 after the team selected him in the eighth round of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft and returned to Buffalo in the 1998-99 season for what would be his final NHL season. In 866 career NHL games with Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Hartford, Chicago and Ottawa, the Etobicoke, Ont., native registered 414 points on 189 goals and 225 assists along with 1,280 penalty minutes.

Aside from two games with the Springfield Indians, Cunneyworth spent his entire American Hockey League career in Rochester. He began his career with the Amerks as a rookie in 1980-81 and went on to record 239 points (101 goals, 138 assists) in 377 games over parts of seven seasons, highlighted by a Calder Cup championship in 1983. Cunneyworth returned to the Sabres in 1998-99, helping Buffalo to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final while also reaching the Calder Cup Finals with Rochester that same year. As a player/assistant coach in 2000, Cunneyworth helped the Amerks back to the Finals, and earned the AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.