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Paddock named Phantoms head coach following shuffle

The Philadelphia Flyers, parent club of the AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms, announced today that John Paddock has been named head coach of the Phantoms. He replaces Craig Berube, who will be re-joining the Flyers as an assistant coach.

“Craig will bring new energy to the Flyers’ coaching staff,” said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren in making the announcement. “His knowledge of, and experience with, many of our young players will be invaluable.”

“John Paddock will bring tremendous experience and leadership to the Phantoms. We are fortunate to have John working with, and helping to develop, our young prospects.”

“I’m very happy to get a chance to return to the NHL with the Flyers,” said Berube. “A year ago, going back down to the Phantoms (as their head coach) was a good opportunity for me to get experience and to show that I could be a head coach. Now, getting a chance to go back to the NHL, especially with the Flyers, is a good opportunity for me, too.”

“Sometimes you just can’t let opportunities go by,” said Paddock. “It wasn’t something that I was planning on when it happened this late in the summer. When Paul called, it was an opportunity that presented itself that I couldn’t let go by. There are so many people in the organization that I’ve worked with, coached, and played with, that there were too many signs pointing to it being a good thing.”

Berube, 42, rejoins the Flyers’ coaching staff after serving as the Phantoms’ head coach for the 2007-08 season. The Phantoms posted a 46-27-4-3 record to finish second in the AHL’s East Division and advanced to the East Division Finals last season. Over parts of the last two seasons (2006-07 and 2007-08), Berube compiled a 49-34-3 record as head coach of the Phantoms. Berube was renamed the Phantoms’ head coach on June 4, 2007 after serving as assistant coach for the Flyers for part of the 2006-07 season.

Previously, he had served as the Phantoms’ head coach for the first six games of the 2006-07 season, posting a 3-3-0 record before being named an assistant coach for the Flyers. Berube joins Jack McIlhargey, Joe Mullen and Reggie Lemelin as assistant coaches for the Flyers.

Paddock, 54, joins the Phantoms after compiling a 36-23-6 record as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators during the 2007-08 season. Over parts of five NHL seasons as head coach of the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa, Paddock has registered a 142-161-43 record.

In addition to his NHL head coaching experience, Paddock has served as a head coach in the AHL for five teams over 12 seasons, guiding the Maine Mariners, Hershey Bears, Binghamton Rangers, Hartford Wolf Pack, and Binghamton Senators.

He is the only coach in AHL history to lead three different franchises to Calder Cup championships (Maine in 1984, Hershey in 1988, and Hartford in 2000), and he captured two more Calder Cups as a player with Maine in 1978 and 1979.

Paddock won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the outstanding head coach in the AHL with Hershey for the 1987-88 season, and his 542 career coaching victories (542-392-93) rank third on the AHL’s all-time list.

Paddock appeared in 87 career NHL regular season games over the parts of five seasons with the Washington Capitals, Flyers, and Quebec Nordiques, recording eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points and 86 penalty minutes. He also totaled 282 points in 462 career AHL contests.

Joining Paddock on the Phantoms’ coaching staff are associate coach Kjell Samuelsson, who will return for his ninth season, and Neil Little, who will be back for his second season as the team’s goaltending coach.