Falcons name Truitt head coach

spr_200.jpgThe AHL’s Springfield Falcons announced today that Jeff Truitt has been named the team’s head coach by their NHL affiliate, the Edmonton Oilers.

Truitt, who helped guide Springfield to a 35-35-5-5 mark as an assistant coach during the 2007-08 season, replaces Kelly Buchberger to become the 10th bench boss in Falcons franchise history.

“We are extremely excited to have Jeff lead our team on the ice starting this coming season,” said Falcons president and general manager Bruce Landon. “Jeff did a tremendous job as an assistant coach in Springfield last year and he will be a coach that is very familiar with the Oilers organization heading into the 2008-09 campaign.”

Truitt entered the pro coaching ranks following an outstanding junior coaching career with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. The 43-year-old native of Rosetown, Saskatchewan left Kelowna after seven seasons as a member of the team’s coaching staff, including three seasons as head coach.

In his three seasons as the Rockets’ head coach, Truitt compiled a 113-76-18-9 record, winning one WHL championship and advancing to the Memorial Cup tournament in 2005. During the 2004-05 season, Truitt guided the Rockets to a 45-13-12-2 (.722) record and a second place finish in the league’s British Columbia Division, before going 16-8 in the postseason to win the WHL championship. With the victory, Truitt and the Rockets advanced to their third consecutive Memorial Cup tournament.

Prior to joining Kelowna, Truitt served as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes (1994-95 to 1996-97) and was the head coach of the Camrose Kodiaks for their first three seasons (1997-98 to 1999-2000) in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. While with Camrose, he was co-coach of the AJHL All-Star Selects, finishing second at the 2000 Viking Cup tournament.

Truitt also has international coaching experience with Team Canada. He served as video coach for the silver medal-winning 2004 Canadian National Junior Team, and was an assistant coach with Canada’s gold medal-winning Under-18 Team in August 2006 in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Most recently, he was an assistant coach with Canada’s World Under-18 team that placed fourth at the 2007 world tournament in Finland.