The Des Moines Buccaneers announced that Mike Guentzel has been named head coach of the Club. Guentzel takes the reins of the Buccaneers after serving in the role of assistant coach for Colorado College during the 2008-09 season.
The Buccaneers began their search for a new head coach after recently named head coach Dave Allison accepted a position with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL).
The 2009-10 season will mark the second stint in the USHL for Guentzel. He began his coaching career as an assistant with the St. Paul Vulcans (now Tri-City Storm) under current Sioux Falls head coach Kevin Hartzell during the 1988-89 season. He then became head coach of the club for three seasons, leading them to the Junior "A" national title in 1991.
"Mike has a great understanding of the USHL and is very familiar with the players in this league from his recruiting experience at the college level," said J.P. Parise. "He has a history of putting winning teams on the ice, and advancing players to the highest levels of the sport. Today, I am extremely excited to announce that Mike has accepted this position with our team."
USHL Commissioner Skip Prince was just as enthusiastic. "Mike and I spoke early on in my tenure here," said Prince, "and I was impressed by both his knowledge of hockey at the junior and collegiate levels, and by his love and respect for the USHL. We welcome his return to the League on behalf of one its most storied Member Clubs."
The native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota was named the head coach of the Omaha Lancers and led them to a league-best 35-13-0 record and the Anderson Cup as regular season champions during the 1992-93 season. Under the guidance of Guentzel, the Lancers would also capture the Clark Cup and then repeat as playoff champions the following season (1993-94).
Guentzel was honored as USHL Coach of the Year following the 1991-92 season, sharing the honor with then Des Moines head coach Bob Ferguson. Guentzel was again named USHL Coach of the Year the following year, becoming the first USHL coach to win the award in consecutive seasons. He posted a winning record in all five seasons as a head coach in the USHL earning a combined 151-80-8 record in the League.
"I'm excited to be back in the USHL," said Guentzel. "I had good experiences during my prior years in the league. I look forward to re-establishing the tremendous success in Des Moines that coaches like Bob Ferguson, Scott Owens, and Regg Simon have brought in the past."
After leading Omaha to its back-to-back Clark Cup titles, Guentzel returned to his alma mater as assistant coach for the University of Minnesota men's hockey program, where in 14 seasons he also helped the Gophers capture back-to-back NCAA championships (in 1992 and 1993). Guentzel, who played four seasons for the Gophers (1981-85) and was team captain in his senior season, was the recipient of the Edwin Romnes Leadership and Sportsmanship Award as well as the Dr. V. George Nagobads Unsung Hero Award while earning his bachelor's degree in small business and human relations. He was selected by the New York Rangers in the seventh round (135th overall) in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, and played professionally in the IHL.
Guentzel and his wife, Sally, have three sons, Ryan, Gabe, and Jake. Ryan (University of Notre Dame) and Gabe (Colorado College) both played for the Sioux Falls Stampede before moving on to their collegiate careers.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)