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July 01. 2014 7:33PM

Monarchs hire veteran coach Stothers


Mike Stothers 

When Mike Stothers was offered the head coaching position with the Manchester Monarchs last week, it didn’t take him long to accept the job.

The Monarchs, the Los Angeles Kings’ affiliate in the American Hockey League, made things official Tuesday, when they announced that Stothers has been hired as the team’s head coach.

“I’d by lying if I said I had to think about it,” Stothers said. “The comforting part for me is you can tell the Kings are a first-class organization. When you get an opportunity with a great organization like the Kings, you jump at it.”

Stothers, 52, spent last season as the head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. He was hired as Moose Jaw’s coach in 2011. He said Michael Futa, the Kings’ vice president of hockey operations and director of player personnel, contacted him about the Monarchs’ coaching position when the Kings were playing the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.

Stothers and Futa worked together with the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League. Stothers was Owen Sound’s head coach from 2002 to 2007, and Futa worked as the team’s general manager.

“The original contact was through Mike Futa,” Stothers said. “He asked me if I would be interested. I certainly expressed my interest.

“I was very happy doing what I was doing in Moose Jaw. I enjoyed coaching junior hockey. Coaching in the (AHL) is very similar in that you’re trying to develop players for the big club. It’s coaching in its truest form.” Stothers replaces Mark Morris, whose contract was not renewed following the 2013-14 season. Morris spent eight seasons as the Monarchs coach. The Monarchs were 338-224-66 in the regular season and 35-50 in the postseason during Morris’ tenure. Morris guided the Monarchs to the postseason in seven of his eight seasons.

The Toronto Maple Leafs selected Stothers, a defenseman, in the first round (21st overall) of the 1980 draft. He played in 35 NHL games with the Maple Leafs and the Philadelphia Flyers over four seasons, and also had an 11-year AHL career.

Stothers has worked as an assistant coach with two NHL teams: the Flyers (2000-02) and the Atlanta Thrashers (2010-2011). This is his second head coaching job in the AHL. He coached the Grand Rapid Griffins in 2007-08. His coaching resume also includes assistant coaching jobs with two AHL teams: the Hershey Bears (1991-96), and the Philadelphia Phantoms (1996-2000).

Stothers said he expects to be in Manchester in two weeks.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” he said. “I’m looking forward to becoming part of the community, and hoping to develop some players for the NHL.”

rbrown@unionleader.com


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