Friday, June 20, 2008

Wichita Thunder has a new coach

The Wichita Thunder at a press conference Thursday, introduced Brent Bilodeau as the ninth head coach in franchise history.
A former first round draft choice (17th overall) of the Montreal Canadiens in the 1991 NHL Draft, Bilodeau (pronounced BILL-uh-doh) enjoyed a 12-year pro playing career, the last six of which he spent as a player/assistant with the ECHL’s Johnstown Chiefs. Upon his retirement in 2005, Bilodeau was named assistant coach for the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers, where he has spent the past three seasons.
“While this will be Brent’s first head coaching job, he is by no means inexperienced”, said Thunder general manager Joel T. Lomurno. “Las Vegas, year after year, is one of the most successful teams in minor league hockey - a great deal of that success is owed to Brent.”
During Brent’s three seasons in Las Vegas - where he also served as assistant general manager - the Wranglers compiled an amazing record of 146-38-32 (.750), including a 26-20 post season mark. In his first two seasons, the Wranglers piled up 53 and 46 wins respectively, advancing to the conference finals each season.
This past season, Las Vegas went 47-13-12 and came within two wins of the ECHL Title. During his tenure, Las Vegas won two division titles, two regular season conference titles, one post season conference championship, one Brabham Cup and made one Kelly Cup Finals appearance. In each of those three seasons, the Wranglers averaged less than 2.60 goals against.
A native of Clyde, Alberta, Brent and his wife Cass, a former WNBA player, have twin sons Tyler and Jacob and are expecting a new baby daughter in August.
“My family and I are thrilled to be coming to such a great organization”, said Bilodeau. “The Wichita Thunder has a long-standing hockey tradition with tremendous fan support and I look forward to putting an equally good and exciting product on the ice.”
The Thunder will drop the puck on their 17th CHL season with a road game on Friday, October 17th and their home opener slated for the following night.
I remember watching him play for the Kansas City Blades in the 90's. I used to go up and see their games a lot. I am excited for a change with the Thunder. This should be fun.

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