Yeo takes over as Aeros’ head coach

Houston Aeros General Manager Jim Mill today named former Aero Mike Yeo as the team’s new head coach. Yeo, who spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach for the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, played five seasons with the Aeros (1994-99) and was the captain of Houston’s 1999 Turner Cup championship team. Yeo also helped lead the Penguins to the 2008-09 Stanley Cup championship.

“After an extensive search that included an outstanding group of candidates we are excited to name Mike Yeo the new head coach of the Aeros,” Mill said. “He has been a winner at all levels and is a great fit for Houston and the Wild organization.”

Yeo, 36 (7/31/73), joined the Penguins’ coaching staff when Michel Therrien was named head coach in December 2005. In 2006-07, his first full season with the Penguins, Yeo helped lead the team to a 47-point improvement, the fourth-biggest turnaround from one year to the next in NHL history. The following season the Penguins won the Eastern Conference championship for the first time since 1992, before falling to Detroit in the Stanley Cup Final. Yeo remained assistant coach under Dan Byslma, who replaced Therrien in February 2009, and Pittsburgh went on to win its third Stanley Cup title in franchise history.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Wild organization and rejoin the Houston community,” Yeo said. “I look forward to building on the success the Aeros have established over the past 16 years.”

Prior to joining the Pittsburgh coaching staff, Yeo spent six seasons as assistant coach for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Pittsburgh’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate. He began his coaching career at age 26 after suffering a career-ending injury while playing for Wilkes Barre/Scranton during the 1999-2000 season. In his six seasons behind the bench, Yeo helped the Penguins earn a Western Conference title (2001), an Eastern Conference title (2004) and two berths to the Calder Cup Final.

The native of North Bay, Ontario, joined the Aeros in 1994 after playing four seasons with the Sudbury Wolves (OHL). The left-winger posted 127 points (55-72=127) and 511 PIM in 317 games with the Aeros, including career highs of 20 goals, 21 assists, 41 points and 128 PIM during the 1997-98 season. As captain of the 1998-99 team, Yeo led the Aeros to the 1999 Turner Cup Championship.

Yeo and his wife, Tanya, have two children. He will begin his responsibilities with the Aeros immediately.