What’s old is new again.
For long-time supporters of the Portland Pirates, the name of former Pirates’ defenseman John Slaney carried with it a certain nostalgia. Now, they’ll just have to look behind the coaches’ bench on game nights as the former defenseman returns to a place where he had success during the early part of his career, catapulting him to become a highly regarded player in the American Hockey League.
On Thursday, Slaney was named an assistant coach for the Portland Pirates returning to his beginnings some 20-years later.
“I am very excited to have been offered this great opportunity to begin my coaching career for a great organization in a thriving hockey town,” said Slaney in a press release. “Portland is a great spot for young players to learn, understand the game, and also develop their skills to become a better all-around hockey player.”
“I look forward to working with Ray (Edwards) in preparing our young players for the next level in the same place where it all started for my playing career.”Slaney, 39, retired from playing after this past season, where he spent time in the Czech Republic with HC Plzen of the Czech Extraliga. A first round draft pick (9th overall) of the Washington Capitals in the 1990 NHL Entry-Level Draft, Slaney spent one season with the Baltimore Skipjacks before they relocated to Portland for the 93-‘94 season.
The St. John’s, Newfoundland native played 268 NHL games during his career among seven teams, recording 22 goals, 69 assists for 91 points, however, it was the AHL where Slaney made his mark holding the record as the AHL’s All-Time leading scorer as a defenseman until this past season when it was broken by Oklahoma City’s Bryan Helmer.
Slaney is a two-time winner of the Eddie Short Award, winning in 2001 and 2002 as a member of the Philadelphia Phantoms. He also won a Calder Cup with Phantoms in 2005. Slaney played in 37 regular games for the Pirates – before being recalled by the Washington Capitals – during their 1993-94 Calder Cup championship season and the following 1994-95 season where he registered 17 goals, 23 assists for 40 points.
“The addition of John Slaney brings a significant amount of excitement and professional experience to our coaching staff here in Portland,” said Pirates’ head coach Ray Edwards. “He experienced a great playing career and has a wealth of innovative knowledge and expertise to offer our young defensive core.”
“Due to our past experience competing against each other I know that John can teach the game at a high level, and I am really looking forward to working closely with him in the future to bring continued success to Portland Pirates hockey.”
NOTES: The Phoenix Coyotes have signed forward Patrick O’Sullivan to a one-year, two-way contract on Wednesday. The former Dudley (Red) Garrett (2005-‘06) as the AHL’s Outstanding Rookie played last season for the Houston Aeros where they finished as runner-ups to the Calder Cup champions, Binghamton Senators. In 36 games, he posted 19 goals, 29 assists for 48 points.
O’Sullivan has played in 311 NHL games with Los Angeles, Edmonton, Carolina and Minnesota, scoring 56 goals, 101 assists for 157 points.