Larsen named Falcons’ head coach

Columbus Blue Jackets executive vice president of hockey operations and general manager Scott Howson announced today that Brad Larsen has been named head coach of the Springfield Falcons, Columbus’ American Hockey League affiliate.

Larsen replaces Rob Riley, who was relieved of his duties in April after two seasons as the Falcons’ head coach.

“We are very pleased to announce Brad Larsen as the head coach of the Springfield Falcons and are excited to have him working with our prospects in the American Hockey League,” said Blue Jackets assistant general manager Chris MacFarland, who oversees Springfield’s hockey operations for Columbus. “He has a tremendous amount of passion for coaching and the game of hockey and will bring great energy to the rink every day.”

Larsen, 34, joined the Falcons as an assistant coach prior to the start of the 2010-11 season after concluding a 13-year playing career in 2009-10 with the AHL’s Portland Pirates. He appeared in 294 career NHL games from 1997-2008, registering 19 goals and 29 assists for 48 points and 134 penalty minutes with the Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers. He added 1-3-4 and 13 penalty minutes in 25 Stanley Cup Playoff games, helping the Avalanche reach the 2002 Western Conference Final.

Colorado’s fourth-round pick, 87th overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Larsen spent the first seven seasons of his pro career in the Colorado organization before joining Atlanta midway through the 2003-04 season.

The Nakusp, B.C., native played in 384 career AHL games totaling 96 goals and 121 assists for 217 points, along with 475 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating with the Hershey Bears, Chicago Wolves and Portland. He added 15-15-30 and 73 penalty minutes in 62 career AHL playoff games and helped lead Chicago to the 2005 Calder Cup Finals with 11 points in 18 postseason games.