Flyers announce changes to coaching staffs

The Philadelphia Flyers, parent club of the AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms, have announced that Craig Berube has been named head coach of the Phantoms. In addition, former AHL coaches Joe Mullen and Jack McIlhargey have been named assistant coaches for the Flyers, Kjell Samuelsson was named associate coach for the Phantoms and two-time Calder Cup champion Neil Little will join the Phantoms as goaltending coach.

Berube, 41, returns to the Phantoms after serving as their head coach for the first six games of the 2006-07 season. He had compiled a 3-2-1 record before being named an assistant coach for the Flyers on Oct. 23, 2006. Prior to being named head coach of the Phantoms, Berube served as an assistant coach for the team for parts of three seasons (2003-06), including their 2005 Calder Cup championship season. He joined the organization after signing as a free agent on Nov. 18, 2003, and was named a player/assistant coach on Jan. 29, 2004.

Over parts of 17 NHL seasons (1986-2003), Berube played 1,054 regular-season games for the Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals and New York Islanders.

McIlhargey, 55, most recently served as a professional scout for the Vancouver Canucks and had served the Canucks in a variety of roles over the last 20 years, including head coach of the Canucks’ top minor-league affiliates for eight seasons in Milwaukee, Hamilton and Syracuse.

McIlhargey played eight seasons in the NHL with the Flyers, Canucks and Hartford Whalers, and also saw action in the AHL with Richmond and Maine.

Mullen, 50, joins the Flyers’ coaching staff after serving as an assistant coach with the Phantoms this past season. After starting the 2005-06 season as an assistant coach with Pittsburgh Penguins, he took over the head coaching position of the Penguins’ AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, after the promotion of Michel Therrien. He finished the season with a 28-16-3-5 mark. Prior to joining Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he was an assistant coach for Pittsburgh for parts of six seasons (2000-01 to 2005-06).

McIlhargey and Mullen join Terry Murray and Reggie Lemelin as assistant coaches for the Flyers.
Samuelsson will return for his eighth season with the Phantoms as associate coach. He was originally named an assistant coach in July 2000 and was a member of the team’s 2005 Calder Cup championship staff. He led the Phantoms to a 28-39-7 record in 74 games this past season after replacing Berube as head coach.

Little, 35, retired from professional hockey after the 2005-06 season. Over parts of 11 AHL seasons with Hershey and Philadelphia, Little compiled a 203-146-41 record and 18 shutouts in 419 regular-season games. He was a member of the Phantoms’ Calder Cup championship teams in 1998 and 2005, and was inducted into the team’s hall of fame in 2006. Little ranks 10th on the AHL’s all-time list with his 203 career victories.