Norfolk adds Flanagan as assistant

The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have hired former Admiral Mike Flanagan to be an assistant coach with Norfolk, Admirals general manager Julien BriseBois announced today.

"We are pleased to announce Mike as an assistant coach with the Admirals today," BriseBois said upon making the announcement. "He has worked well with Jon Cooper in the past and has had success developing young hockey players with his previous coaching experiences. As a former Admiral, Mike understands the tradition of excellence that is expected in Hampton Roads. We are confident that he will become a valuable asset to the Admirals as we strive to restore a winning culture for our players and the fans in Norfolk."

Flanagan comes to the Admirals after spending the last two seasons with the Wichita Falls Wildcats of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). After joining the Wildcats in 2008-09 as an assistant coach, Flanagan became interim head coach midway through the 2009-10 season. He led Wichita Falls to an 8-10-2 record as head coach. Prior to joining the Wildcats, Flanagan was general manager and head coach of the Kenai River Brown Bears (NAHL) for the 2007-08 season.

"I’m very excited to join the Norfolk Admirals today," Flanagan said. "I’m also excited to be reunited with Jon as we have always worked extremely well together. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to join a great staff and organization."

Flanagan previously worked with current Admirals head coach Jon Cooper with the NAHL’s St. Louis Bandits as an assistant coach in 2006-07. The Bandits went 43-14-5 that season and won the NAHL’s Robertson Cup Championship.

"I’m really excited to have another opportunity to be teamed up with Mike Flanagan," said Cooper. "He’s a consummate professional. The players will learn from his experiences both as a player and as a coach. We’ve had success together in the past and I look forward to working with Mike to bring more success to Norfolk."

Prior to his time with St. Louis, Flanagan served five seasons as general manager and head coach of the Grand Rapids Owls of the Central States Hockey League (CSHL). While with the Owls, Flanagan led the team to the playoffs three times while helping more than 40 players advance to higher levels of hockey.

Flanagan’s playing career included one season with the Admirals. A defenseman, Flanagan turned pro during the Admirals’ inaugural ECHL season in 1989-90, posting two goals and 16 points with 192 penalty minutes in 57 games. His professional career later included stops in the United Kingdom and the Central Hockey League.