New York Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather announced today that Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld will assume head coaching responsibilities for the Wolf Pack. Former Ranger and Hartford Whaler Ulf Samuelsson and long-time Wolf Pack captain Ken Gernander will join Schoenfeld behind the bench.
“Jim is a proven teacher of this game and is well-versed on the prospects that we have in our development system,” stated Sather. “Our organizational philosophy is to build from within, which places a tremendous emphasis on allowing our young talent to grow and develop at the minor league level. We are confident that with Jim’s guidance, our kids will have a great chance to evolve into future Rangers.”
Schoenfeld, 52, has served as general manager of the Wolf Pack since the 2003-04 season, overseeing all hockey-related issues matters for the club. Prior to joining the Hartford operation, he served as an assistant coach with the Rangers for the 2002-03 campaign. A veteran of 10 seasons in the National Hockey League as a head coach, he has compiled a 256-246-78 record (.509 winning percentage) with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals and the Phoenix Coyotes.
“I look forward to the challenge of working with our young talent,” said Schoenfeld. “I feel that the organization is on the right track in regards to building its own core of players, and we will continue to support this philosophy here in Hartford. Our objective will be to put a hard-working, energetic product on the ice for our fans, while ensuring the continued development of the Rangers top prospects.”
Schoenfeld made his head coaching debut with the AHL’s Rochester Americans for a portion of the 1984-85 season, guiding the Amerks to a 17-6-2 record before coming out of retirement and rejoining the Sabres’ active lineup on December 19, 1984.
A veteran of 13 seasons in the NHL, Schoenfeld appeared in 719 games with the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins from 1972-73 through 1984-85. He also played briefly in the AHL with the Cincinnati Swords in 1973-74.
Samuelsson, 41, joins the Hartford organization in his professional coaching debut, after concluding a 16-year NHL career in 1999-2000. Samuelsson appeared in 1,080 career NHL contests with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Rangers, and was a member of the Penguins’ 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup championship teams.
Most recently, Samuelsson served as assistant coach for Avon Old Farms in Avon, Conn., during the 2004-05 season, helping guide the club to the team’s second consecutive Division I Prep Championship after ranking first in Hockey Night In Boston’s Division I Top 15 with a 25-2-0.
Gernander, 36, steps behind the Wolf Pack bench after concluding an illustrious 14-year playing career this past April. A member of the Rangers organization since signing as a free agent in 1994, Gernander has served as captain of the club’s AHL affiliate in each of the last 10 years.
The native of Coleraine, Minn., accumulated 624 points (293 goals, 331 assists) in 973 career AHL games with Moncton, Binghamton and Hartford, retiring as the highest-scoring U.S.-born player in league history and ranking eighth all-time in AHL games played (973).
Former Wolf Pack assistant coach Nick Fotiu will join the Rangers’ scouting staff as a professional scout.