Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (HE&R) announced today that Bryan Helmer has been named Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Hershey Bears following the retirement of General Manager Doug Yingst after 34 years with the organization. On October 24, 2015, Yingst announced his intention to retire at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season. Helmer, who served as assistant coach of the team during the 2015-2016 season, will assume oversight of the operation of the Hershey Bears, the longest consecutive running team in American Hockey League history.
“Hershey Entertainment & Resorts is very pleased to announce Bryan Helmer as the next Vice President of Hockey Operations for our storied hockey franchise,” said Bill Simpson, President and CEO, HE&R. “Given his outstanding leadership with our team and extensive experience with the area, we could not be more confident in the future of the Hershey Bears under Bryan’s direction. Bryan has won with us as a player and has an impressive record as an assistant coach. He knows what it takes not only to win, but to carry on the important tradition of the Hershey Bears – both on and off the ice.”
Helmer is no stranger to the Hershey Bears as he successfully played for the team from 2008-2010, which includes two consecutive Calder Cups Championship runs. Alongside head coach Troy Mann, Helmer led the Bears to the Calder Cup Finals last season.
“Hershey, Pennslyvania, has always been a second home to me and it is an honor and privilege to take this leadership role with a team as legacy-rich as the Hershey Bears,” said Bryan Helmer. “This team has meant so much to me during my hockey career and is clearly a place that everyone in the AHL aspires to call home. I am very grateful for the opportunity to help this tremendous organization be successful for the long term.”
The 44-year-old Helmer, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, is the AHL’s all-time leader in points by a defenseman. He recorded 564 points (129 goals, 435 assists) in a remarkable 20-year career that totaled 1,117 regular-season games – a number which ranks third in AHL history. Helmer is also the AHL’s all-time leader in Calder Cup playoff appearances, having played in 159 postseason games. He has tallied 59 points (14 goals, 45 assists) and celebrated the AHL Calder Cup championship three times (Albany, 1995; Hershey, 2009 and 2010). Helmer was the Hershey Bears’ captain for both of the team’s back-to-back league titles.
Additionally, Helmer was twice named to the AHL postseason All-Star Team and awarded the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award as the player who best exemplified the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey during the 2010-11 season. Helmer resides in Hershey with his wife, son and daughter.