Word came today that David Bell has joined the Barrie Colts as an assistant coach. Bell spent last season as an assistant coach to Jeff Truitt and Rob Daum in Springfield.
The announcement was a bit of a surprise because I hadn’t heard anything about the fate of the Falcons’ coaching staff. A quick check of the Falcons’ official website reveals that Rob Daum is still listed as head coach, with Gerry Fleming as his assistant.
According to The Republican newspaper (which does a fantastic job of covering the Falcons), Fleming was re-signed by the Oilers after his contract expired at the end of June. I don’t recall an official announcement being made, but Fleming expects to be working under Rob Daum in the fall:
“Rob did an excellent job coming in here . He’ll be good for this team, and working with him will be beneficial for me, too.”
Fleming seems like a logical hold-over; despite being only 41-years old he has spent over a decade in coaching, with eight years as a head coach at the ECHL level (and an impressive 320-189-53 record). He moved into coaching immediately after his playing career (which featured 9 NHL games and plenty of fights in both the AHL and NHL) ended in 1998.
It remains to be seen if the Oilers will add a second assistant coach to the Falcons’ staff, but it does seem likely. I haven’t heard anything one way or the other, but I wonder if Stockton Thunder head coach Matt Thomas might be a possibility. Thomas replaced the fired Chris Cichocki mid-season and his arrival triggered a remarkable turn-around for the Thunder. Prior to joining the Thunder, Thomas was the head coach of the successful-on-the-ice, unsuccessful-off-of-it Fresno Falcons, who folded mid-season.
That’s only one of the potential vacancies the Oilers’ might want to fill before training camp. There was some talk back at the start of June about adding a third assistant coach to the Oilers’ NHL group (and Craig MacTavish consistently had three assistants) but so far nothing has come of that.
Additionally, the Oilers have yet to add a development coach to replace Bob Mancini, who left for USA Hockey back at the start of July. Mancini remains listed in that role on the Oilers’ official website.