AHL IceHogs introduce new head coach

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118409423724706.jpg’, ‘Photo by Doug Halberstadt’, ‘Mike Haviland was introduced to the faithful IceHogs followers as the seventh head coach in the team’s history.‘);

As the temperatures in the northern Illinois area neared 95 degrees recently, I’m betting most of us were not thinking about hockey. In spite of the heat, hockey was on the minds of a standing-room-only crowd at the Hilton Garden Inn Thursday, July 5. The diehards were on hand to talk some hockey and, more importantly, meet the new head coach of their Rockford IceHogs.

Mike Haviland was introduced to the faithful IceHogs followers as the seventh head coach in the team’s history.

Haviland brings to town an impressive coaching background. While coaching the American Hockey League (AHL) Norfolk Admirals last season, he received the AHL’s Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the league’s outstanding coach. During the 2006-07 season, he led the Admirals to their best record in franchise history, 50-22-6-2, and highest point total with 108.

He has also won two Kelly Cup Championships in the East Coast Hockey League. In 2002-03, he won his first with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies. Two seasons later, he coached the Trenton Titans to his second ECHL championship.

Haviland assured the fans many of the things they’ve gotten used to would remain the same. “As long as I’m here, we’ll never have a closed practice,” he said. “Our guys will be part of this community.”

“We can develop and win at the same time,” he added.

If all of those things do ring true, Haviland should be a natural fit here in ’Hog Heaven.

The IceHogs open training camp Sept. 23. They will have a free practice game against Peoria Sept. 29. Their opening weekend in the AHL as an affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawk’s is Nov. 2 and 3 at the newly-renovated MetroCentre.

Season tickets for the Rockford IceHogs’ ninth season of professional hockey and their first in the AHL are on sale. Ticket packages start at $95. The ’Hogs office is open during the week for fans wanting to purchase tickets or to get more information. Their number is (815) 986-6465.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.

from the July 11-17, 2007, issue

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