Penguins’ Hynes is top coach

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that John Hynes of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins has been named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach for the 2010-11 season, as voted by coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

In his first season as a professional head coach, Hynes has guided the Penguins to the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy and one of the best regular seasons in AHL history, with a record of 56-20-0-1 (113 points) heading into the final three games of the year. Wilkes-Barre’s 56 wins are a franchise record and tied for the third-highest total ever by an AHL team, and the Penguins rank fourth in the AHL in scoring offense (3.27 goals for per game) and first in defense (2.30 goals against per game), while also taking the second-most shots per contest (33.05) and allowing the fewest (25.48). Hynes has kept Wilkes-Barre/Scranton atop the AHL standings while also having 11 players called up to play a total of 140 games with the parent Pittsburgh Penguins this season, including nine of his top 10 scorers in Wilkes-Barre.

A 36-year-old native of Warwick, R.I., Hynes is the youngest head coach in the AHL today. He joined the Penguins organization as an assistant coach in Wilkes-Barre last season and was named head coach on July 31, 2010. Hynes was previously a successful coach in the United States National Development Program, where his Under-18 national teams won silver (2004), gold (2006) and bronze (2008) in IIHF world championship play, and he worked with and developed nearly three dozen future NHL players, including first-overall draft picks Erik Johnson and Patrick Kane. Hynes played four seasons at Boston University and helped the Terriers to a national title in 1995, and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at BU.

The Louis A.R. Pieri Award, which was first presented in 1968, honors the late Mr. Pieri, a long-time contributor to the AHL as the owner and general manager of the Providence Reds and a 2009 inductee into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame. Previous winners of the award include Frank Mathers (1969), Fred Shero (1970), Al MacNeil (1972, ’77), John Muckler (1975), Jacques Demers (1983), Larry Pleau (1987), Mike Milbury (1988), John Paddock (1988), Marc Crawford (1993), Barry Trotz (1994), Robbie Ftorek (1995, ’96), Peter Laviolette (1999), Claude Julien and Geoff Ward (2003), Claude Noel (2004), Randy Cunneyworth (2005), Kevin Dineen (2006), Mike Haviland (2007), Scott Gordon (2008), Scott Arniel (2009) and Guy Boucher (2010).

Celebrating its historic 75th anniversary season in 2010-11, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2010-11 season ends on Apr. 10, and 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.