Andrews Steps Down As AHL President
The American Hockey League has grown into the world’s premier minor league under the watch of President and CEO David Andrews.
Soon, though, a successor will follow in his footsteps.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada first reported Monday that Andrews announced he will retire as league president on June 30, 2020. The announcement was made in correlation with the AHL’s Board of Governors spring meeting.
This upcoming season will be Andrews’ 26th at the helm. Since he assumed his role in 1994, the league has grown rapidly and now stands at 31 teams — including the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and a handful along the West coast. It features its own online streaming service, and games are frequently broadcast on national television stations like the NHL Network. The vast majority of NHL players spend at least part of their careers honing their skills with AHL teams.
The league has also become a proving ground of sorts for rules changes considered by the NHL; examples include hybrid icing and 3-on-3 overtime.
“Some of the changes were obviously NHL tests, but many elements that have become part of hockey everywhere were pioneered in our league,” Andrews said last fall in an interview with The Citizens’ Voice. “I don’t think the game’s ever been in a better place. It’s much faster, much more skilled and more entertaining in my opinion.”
Andrews has said he expects the league to add another franchise over the next couple years to complement an NHL team in Seattle.
Therrien, Yeo hired
Former Penguins coaches Michel Therrien, who led the team to a Calder up Finals appearance, and Mike Yeo were hired as assistants by the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.
Yeo, 45, was a member of the naugural Wilkes-Barre/Scranton team in 1999-2000 before becoming an assistant coach the year prior. He went on to coach both the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues, and he served as a longtime assistant under Therrien in both the AHL and NHL.
Therrien was the Penguins’ head coach from 2003 through the first 25 games of the 2005-06 season before returning to the NHL ranks. He has an all-time NHL coaching record of 406-303-23-82.
As a result of the hires, Scott Gordon will return as head coach of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The 56-year-old was 25-22-4 last season as the Flyers’ interim head coach after replacing Dave Hakstol.