Sommer sets mark with 1,257th game

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.Roy Sommer of the Worcester Sharks has established a new American Hockey League record for most regular-season games by a head coach.

Sommer led his team to a 5-3 victory over the Portland Pirates at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night for the 1,257th game of his AHL head coaching career. That surpasses the previous record of 1,256 games, held by Hockey Hall of Fame honored member Frank Mathers.

Sommer, 56, was named the head coach of the San Jose Sharks’ AHL affiliate on May 28, 1998, and has spent his entire 16-year coaching career in the organization with the Kentucky Thoroughblades (1998-2001), Cleveland Barons (2001-06) and Worcester Sharks (2006-present). His 572 regular-season victories (including Wednesday) rank fourth all-time.

A native of Oakland, Calif., Sommer has led San Jose’s AHL affiliates to six 40-win seasons and three division championships. He has coached 104 players who have gone on to make their National Hockey League debuts, including 80 who have spent a portion of their careers with San Jose. In 2013-14, 18 players who have dressed for the NHL Sharks played for Sommer in the AHL.

Prior to his coaching career, Sommer played 10 seasons of professional hockey after being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1977. He scored a goal in his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 28, 1981, and won a Calder Cup championship as a member of the Maine Mariners in 1984.