The Phoenix Coyotes have rewarded Ray Edwards for his work as interim-coach for the San Antonio Rampage by naming him as San Antonio’s head coach for the 2010-11 season.
Brad Treliving, Phoenix Coyotes Assistant General Manager and San Antonio Rampage General Manager, announced Wednesday that Edwards will remain the head coach of the Rampage and that Jeff Truitt will serve as assistant head coach for the upcoming season.
Edwards became the interim-coach for the Rampage after Greg Ireland was relieved of his duties on November 23, 2009. Under Edwards guidance San Antonio posted a 30-23-3-6 record (36-32-5-7) and were on the brink of their first playoff berth since 2007.
The Rampage were a different team with Edwards at the helm. The boys in black played faster and smarter with the new coach – posting highest home power-play percentage at 25.6% and tied with the Hershey Bears for best overall power-play percentage at 20.7%.
Possibly Edwards greatest success was the combination of Kyle Turris, Brett MacLean and Mikkel Boedker in the same line. The three prospects combined for 166 points and 65 goals on the season. Turris’ scored 63 points (24-39-63), MacLean scored 65 (30-35-65) and Boedker tallied 38 points (11-27-38). The changes in lines produced many scoring opportunities for the Rampage and they were quick to capitalize on them, scoring 235 goals a long the way.
Edwards began his tenure with the Rampage on August 21, 2007. The 2007-08 season would go on to be the franchise’s best season ever winning 42 games and racking up 94 points. Edwards previously coached in the Central Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League for seven seasons. While coaching in the CHL, Edwards took the New Mexico Scorpions to the Conference Finals during the 2006-07 season. Edwards guided the San Angelo Saints to the playoffs in each of his two seasons there and earned the CHL’s Coach of Year award for guiding the Saints from a 36-point deficit to a Southwest Division title in his first season at the helm.
Edwards began his coach career at 28-years-old with the ECHL’s Huntington Blizzard in 1998. His sophomore season he led the Blizzard to a 35-25-10 season – their best result ever. Edwards played for seven seasons in the ECHL earning 174 points (83 goals, 91 assists) and logged 1,253 penalty minutes in 309 games. He also attended NHL Training Camps in Los Angeles, Chicago and Ottawa.
Truitt comes to the Rampage by way of the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors where he was the Director of Hockey Operations. Truitt’s previous coaching experiences feature two seasons as the Springfield Falcons assistant and later head coach. Truitt became the 10th head coach in Falcons history on June 17, 2008.
Truitt’s most notable coaching experience came with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. Truitt joined the Rockets in 2001 and served as the assistant coach through the 2003-04 season. As a head coach Truitt propelled the Rockets to a WHL Championship and a Memorial Cup tournament entry in 2005. The 2004-05 saw the Rockets finish with a 45-13-12-2 record and second place in the British Columbia Division and go 16-8 during the post-season en route to a WHL Championship.
Truitt lead the Rockets to a 113-76-18-9 record as a head coach. During his seven seasons with the franchise the Rockets won two WHL Championships (2003, 2005), two WHL regular season titles (2003, 2004), three consecutive trips to the Memorial Cup tournament (2003, 2004, 2005) and the Memorial Cup Championship in 2004. Truitt also brings international experience from his time with Team Canada. Truitt served as the video coach for the silver medal Canadian Nation Junior Team in 2004, as the assistant coach the gold medal winning Under-18 team in August of 2006 and the assistant for Canada’s World Under-18 that placed fourth at the 2007 world tournament in Finland.
While the AHL is a development league to the NHL first there is no reason for Rampage fans to not get excited about the coaching staff for the upcoming season. The numbers do not lie as both coaches have shown the ability to win with multiple teams. San Antonio has not earned a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs since 2007 but the coaching change could place the Rampage back in the playoff picture.