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Portland adds Slaney as asst. coach

The Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League, in conjunction with their AHL affiliate the Portland Pirates, announced today that John Slaney has been named the Pirates’ new assistant coach.

“The addition of John Slaney brings a significant amount of excitement and professional experience to our coaching staff here in Portland,” stated Pirates head coach Ray Edwards. “He experienced a great playing career and has a wealth of innovative knowledge and expertise to offer our young defensive core. Due to our past experience competing against each other I know that John can teach the game at a high level, and I am really looking forward to working closely with him in the future to bring continued success to Portland Pirates hockey.”

Leaving his mark as one of the best defensemen in AHL history, Slaney joins the Pirates coaching staff with a wealth of accolades. The accomplished veteran was a two-time recipient of the Eddie Shore Award (given annually to the league’s top defenseman) in 2000-01 and 2001-02, a two-time First Team (2001, 2002) and one-time Second Team (2004) AHL All-Star, and also won a Calder Cup championship with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2005.

Slaney also participated in five AHL All-Star Classics during his career (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006). He was the MVP of the 2001 AHL All-Star Game in Wilkes-Barre when he represented Philadelphia just a day after being traded from the host Penguins, and served as a team captain at the 2002 event in his hometown of St. John’s, N.L.

During the 2005-06 season, he became the AHL’s all-time leading scorer among defensemen, a mark that stood until passed by Bryan Helmer last season.

In 631 career AHL games with Baltimore, Portland, Cornwall, Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia, Slaney recorded 166 goals and 353 assists for 519 points.

Slaney, 39, joins the Pirates after finishing his 19-year playing career during the 2010-11 season with Plzen HC in the Czech Republic. He was originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in the first round (ninth overall) of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft.

During his career in the NHL, he totaled 91 points (22 goals, 69 assists) in 268 games with the Capitals, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.

“We are thrilled to welcome back John to Portland after 19 years of success in professional hockey,” said Pirates managing owner/CEO Brian Petrovek. “His impressive accomplishments during his playing career speaks volumes to what he will now deliver as a coach for the Pirates. Our young talent will have a world class athlete and professional to teach and develop them on their road to the National Hockey League.”

“I am very excited to have been offered this great opportunity to begin my coaching career for a great organization in a thriving hockey town,” Slaney said. “Portland is a great spot for young players to learn, understand the game, and also develop their skills to become a better all-around hockey player. I look forward to working with Ray (Edwards) in preparing our young players for the next level in the same place where it all started for my playing career.”