The American Hockey League is noted for it’s ever changing ways. Whether it’s new rules, new teams or the merry-go-round round of players.
The San Jose organisation has bucked that change as they announced that Roy Sommer will return as head coach in 2014/15, for his 17th season in charge of their AHL affiliate.
Sommer was an assistant for the Sharks for two seasons before becoming head coach of the Kentucky Thoroughblades in 1998. That team would make the playoffs for three straight years, but only went as far as the second round before becoming the Cleveland Barons.
It was a tough five seasons in Cleveland as only one winning season was achieved and with that a first round exit in the post-season. In 2006 San Jose made the decision to move their affiliate to Worcester and once more Sommer was the glue that kept the team together. The Worcester Sharks have been ever present since the move, with their best season coming in 2009/10 where they won the Atlantic Division with an impressive record of 49-25-6 but would fall in the second round to Manchester.
On Wednesday 26th March this year, Worcester Sharks game with Portland Pirates was Sommer’s 1,257th as an AHL coach, surpassing the mark held by Hockey Hall of Fame member Frank Mathers.
His overall record of 576-586-106, leaves him fourth in the AHL for wins and he would hope to be at least second in that list by this time next season
Leaving the Worcester Sharks organisation will be David Cunniff who has decided to move on to explore other coaching opportunities. Having been an assistant/associate coach for 12 years, his loss will leave a big hole for Worcester to fill, especially with his defensive expertise.
No one will be happier that Sommer is retuning for a 17th season than his son Mo, who himself has become a big part of the Worcester team. Born with the condition Down Syndrome, Mo hasn’t let that get in the way of living life to the full and he’s well loved by all those at Worcester including the players and you can read a great article about him here http://www.thehockeynews.com/blog/roy-sommer-is-a-record-setting-ahl-coach-but-his-team-would-be-lost-without-son-marley/