Kowalsky named Islanders head coach

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Islanders announced today that Rick Kowalsky has been named head coach of their American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Islanders.

Kowalsky succeeds Brent Thompson, who was named an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks earlier this week. Kowalsky had served as an assistant under Thompson in Bridgeport the last two seasons.

Prior to joining the Islanders, Kowalsky spent 15 seasons with the New Jersey Devils organization, including three years as an assistant coach with the NHL club and eight years as head coach of the their AHL affiliates in Albany and Binghamton. He guided the AHL Devils to three Calder Cup Playoff appearances, in 2014, 2016 and 2017, and in 2015-16 he earned the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach. He owns a head-coaching record of 281-249-37-45 (.526) in the AHL.

A native of Simcoe, Ont., Kowalsky also served four seasons as head coach of New Jersey’s ECHL affiliate in Trenton, and was an assistant coach with the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals in 2005-06.

Kowalsky, 51, was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres and played 12 professional seasons, including 183 games in the AHL with Cornwall, Portland and Norfolk.