The Ottawa Senators announced today that the club has named Kurt Kleinendorst head coach of its American Hockey League affiliate, the Binghamton Senators. The contract is a two-year agreement and will run through the 2011-12 season.
Kleinendorst, 49, spent last season as the head coach of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program’s under-18 team, leading it to a to gold medal at the 2010 IIHF U-18 World Hockey Championship held in Belarus. He also served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2008 IIHF World Hockey Championship in Halifax and Quebec City.
A native of Grand Rapids, Minn., Kleinendorst spent the previous nine seasons with the New Jersey Devils organization, including three as the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Lowell Devils, from 2006-07 to 2008-09. Prior to coaching the AHL Devils, he served as a member of the team’s scouting staff for the previous five seasons, including the four as a special assignment scout and one season as professional scout. He joined the New Jersey organization as an assistant coach as part of Larry Robinson’s National Hockey League staff for the 2000-01 season.
Kleinendorst spent three seasons from 1997-98 to 1999-2000 as general manager/coach of the Manchester (UK) Storm, leading the team to the Super League championship while also being recognized as coach of the year following the 1998-99 season. Kleinendorst served two terms spanning five seasons as head coach/director of hockey operations for the ECHL’s Raleigh IceCaps from 1991-94 and 1995-97 and was named the league’s top coach in 1992-93. He spent the 1994-95 campaign as assistant coach/assistant general manager of the International Hockey League’s San Diego Gulls.
Selected by the New York Rangers with their fourth-round pick (77th overall) in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, Kleinendorst played professionally for six seasons. He played two seasons in Europe, one with Iserlohn (Germany) and Peliitat (Finland) in 1986-87 and one with the Rotterdam Pandas (Netherlands) in 1987-88. He played professional hockey in North America for parts of five seasons between 1983 and 1990 in the Central Hockey League, IHL and AHL.
Kleinendorst played internationally for the United States during the team’s pre-Olympic tour in 1984 and was a member of the U.S. national team at the 1981 world championship. He played four seasons at Providence College from 1979-80 to 1982-83 and was inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame in 1997. As a senior, he was selected to the NCAA All-American team, named ECAC player of the year and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.
The sixth coach in B-Sens franchise history, Kleinendorst replaces Don Nachbaur, who led Binghamton to a 36-35-6-3 record, missing the AHL playoffs in 2009-10, his only season with the club.
Kleinendorst and his wife, Deon, have four children: Ryan (26), Kollin (23), Kaitlyn (19) and Jake (14).