Phantoms re-ink coaching staff

The 2005 Calder Cup champion Philadelphia Phantoms today announced that the contracts of head coach John Stevens and assistant coaches Kjell Samuelsson and Craig Berube have been extended through the 2005-06 season. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

“The Phantoms had a remarkable season in 2004-05 and we wanted to lock in what we feel is the best coaching staff in the American Hockey League,” said Flyers and Phantoms assistant general manager Paul Holmgren. “John, Kjell and ‘Chief’ took a mix of veterans and young prospects and molded a championship-winning team. Their efforts needed to be rewarded.”

Philadelphia went 48-25-3-4 in 2004-05, including an AHL-record 17-game winning streak during the first half of the season. The team’s 48 wins fell one shy of a club record and its 103 points during the regular season were the most in six years. The Phantoms then proceeded to lose only five games during the postseason as they captured their second Calder Cup in franchise history.

Stevens was the Phantoms’ first-ever team captain and helped lead the team to the 1998 Calder Cup title during its second year of existence. After his 15-year playing career ended in the middle of the 1998-99 season due to an eye injury, Stevens took over as an assistant coach before being elevated to head coach on June 8, 2000. In five seasons at the helm, he has compiled a 196-171-33 mark.

Samuelsson played 14 seasons in the NHL, including nine with the Flyers, before entering the coaching ranks as an assistant with the Trenton Titans of the ECHL in 1999-2000. He was then promoted to assistant coach of the Phantoms on July 8, 2000.

Berube enjoyed an 18-year professional hockey career, including 323 games with the Flyers over parts of seven seasons. He joined the Phantoms as a player/assistant coach in 2003-04 before becoming a full-time assistant coach this season.