Monsters’ coach signs two-year extention

The Columbus Blue Jackets have extended the contract of Lake Erie Monsters Head Coach Jared Bednar for two years through the 2018-19 season, club Assistant General Manager Bill Zito announced. In addition, the club announced the hiring of Blake Geoffrion as Monsters assistant general manager and Steve McCarthy as assistant coach, while Manny Legace will return to the club as goaltending coach.


Bednar, 44, led the Monsters to a 15-2 record during the playoffs and the first Calder Cup championship in club history, and the first by a Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, in 2016 following a 43-22-6-5 record during the regular season. Named the head coach of the Springfield Falcons in June 2014, Bednar has led Columbus’ AHL affiliates to an 81-50-14-7 (.602) mark in two seasons. He guided the Falcons to a 38-28-8-2 record in 2014-15 after spending the previous two seasons as the club’s assistant coach.


Prior to joining the organization, Bednar served as the head coach of the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen from 2010-12 and led the club to a record of 81-63-5-7. In 308 AHL games, he has amassed a record of 162-113-19-14 (.580). 


Geoffrion, 28, has spent two of the past three seasons as a professional scout with the Blue Jackets after his playing career was cut short by injury. Nashville’s second round pick, 56th overall, in the 2006 NHL Draft, he tallied eight goals and five assists for 13 points with 34 penalty minutes in 55 career NHL games with the Predators and Montreal Canadiens from 2010-12 and also appeared in 84 AHL games with Milwaukee and Hamilton, notching 21-43-64 and 59 penalty minutes.


McCarthy, 35, joins the Monsters coaching staff after retiring as a player following his 16th professional season in 2015-16. He split last season between the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings and Lake Erie, where he notched 0-1-1 and six penalty minutes in 17 AHL games. Selected in the first round, 23rd overall, by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1999 NHL Draft, he registered 17-38-55 and 168 penalty minutes in 302 career NHL games with Chicago, Vancouver and Atlanta. The Trail, British Columbia native also spent the 2010-11 season with TPS Turku in Finland’s Liiga and three seasons with Zurich SC in Switzerland from 2011-14.


Legace returns for his third season as goaltending coach for the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate. The 43-year-old native of Toronto, Ontario compiled a 187-99-18-23 record, 2.41 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and 24 shutouts in 365 career NHL games with Los Angeles, Detroit, St. Louis and Carolina from between 1998-2010 and won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2002. He was selected in the eighth round, 188th overall, by the Hartford Whalers in the 1993 NHL Draft.