Falcons name Stirling head coach

Veteran coach Steve Stirling has been named as the head coach of the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by Tampa Bay Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster.

Stirling brings an extensive coaching resume to Springfield, having led the New York Islanders during the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons after a successful stint with Bridgeport of the AHL. In one and a half seasons in New York, Stirling led the Islanders to a 56-49-11-8 record and a spot in the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they lost to the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Prior to joining the Islanders, Stirling was head coach of New York’s AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, for the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. He was named Minor Pro Coach of the Year in 2001-02 by The Hockey News after leading the Sound Tigers to a 43-25-8-4 record and a spot in the Calder Cup Final. He led the Sound Tigers to the playoffs again in 2002-03, and finished with a record of 83-51-19-7 in two AHL seasons.

“When we began our search we were determined to hire someone with head coaching experience generally and a proven track record at the AHL and/or NHL levels specifically,” Feaster said. “In Steve Stirling we feel we have accomplished our objectives in spades. Steve has been successful at every stop throughout his illustrious coaching career, and he knows the AHL and what it takes to win at this level.

“Not only is he an outstanding teacher who will develop players for us in Tampa, but he is an excellent bench boss who knows the keys to winning hockey games in this very competitive league. We are thrilled Steve has chosen to join the Tampa Bay and Springfield organizations.

Prior to serving as a head coach in Bridgeport, Stirling spent three years as an assistant with the Lowell Lock Monsters, which was then an affiliate of the Islanders.

Stirling was an All-American center in his playing days and captained Boston University to the 1971 NCAA championship. He played parts of six seasons in the AHL with the Boston Braves and Rochester Americans, and later coached collegiately at Babson College — where he was a two-time winner of the Division II/III Coach of the Year award — and Providence College, leading the Friars to the 1985 national championship game.