The Portland Pirates now know who their head coach will be for this season.
At times, it wasn’t so certain.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Ray Edwards declined an assistant coaching position with the Winnipeg Jets.
“We were on pins and needles for a while last week, not knowing,” Pirates managing owner/CEO Brian Petrovek told the Press Herald. “But it’s good to know he is someone who is drawing that kind of interest.”
Edwards, who was named in late June as the Pirates seventh head coach in franchise history, interviewed for the assistant coaching position with the Jets last week, but instead opted to stay with the Phoenix organization as they move their minor league affiliate from San Antonio to Portland.
“I just thought staying with Phoenix and coming to Portland from a family standpoint, a comfortability standpoint, this was the best thing to do,” Edwards told the Press Herald in an interview on Tuesday. “The NHL is great and to be there would have been unbelievable, but there’s a lot that goes into those decisions.”
“Obviously, my family is a big part of it.”
“At this point, we just decided that (the Pirates) would be the best thing.”
Sound a lot like former Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen, who was very vocal about his appreciation of the lifestyle, living Portland for six years before moving on to the NHL as the new head coach of the Florida Panthers.
Edwards is entering his fifth season with the Phoenix Coyotes organization. He spent the last two seasons as the head coach of the San Antonio Rampage where he posted a 70-56-16 record. The Hanover, Ontario native has coached in the ECHL (Huntington, Cincinnati) and CHL (San Angelo, New Mexico) prior to joining San Antonio as an assistant coach.
NOTES: Edwards along with Phoenix General Manager Don Maloney and Asst. GM Brad Treliving will be introduced to the Pirates fan base on Thursday at the Civic Center… The Pirates will announce their six guaranteed dates and season matrix later this week. It’s expected that Portland will play a division heavy schedule this season with 42 of the 76-game schedule against the newly formed Atlantic Division. The AHL underwent realignment after the recent Board of Governors meeting, moving from four divisions to six divisions (three in each conference). Joining the Pirates in the Atlantic Division are Manchester, Providence, Worcester and St. John’s, who relocated from Winnipeg, Manitoba.