With a 6-3 victory over the Youngstown Phantoms this past Friday, head coach Derek Lalonde recorded his 42nd victory surpassing Eric Rud (41) for most wins by a first year head coach in USHL history.
Lalonde became just the fifth coach in USHL history to lead a team to the Anderson Cup in the first season behind the bench in the League. The last coach to accomplish that feat was Jon Cooper with the Green Bay Gamblers during the 2008-09 season. Lalonde is also only the second coach in USHL history to reach the 40-win mark in his first season, following Eric Rud who won 41 games last season with the Gamblers.
“It is a great honor to have accomplished these feats in my first season with the amount of great coaches that have coached in the USHL,” said head coach and general manager Derek Lalonde, “I certainly benefited from coming into a great organization where a lot of the good pieces were already in place.”
Prior to coming to the Gamblers, Lalonde spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Denver. While at Denver, Lalonde assisted in all aspects with the DU program, including recruiting, video breakdown, goaltending and skill development. Lalonde helped the Pioneers to two WCHA Championships (2008 & 2010), four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and 122-63-19 record in five seasons as assistant coach.
Lalonde helped recruit six nationally-ranked recruiting classes. He recruited 11 NHL draft picks, including first round picks Beau Bennett and Joe Colborne. Lalonde also recruited second round selections Jason Zucker, Patrick Wiercioch, Drew Shore and William Wrenn, and non-drafted recruits Tyler Bozak and Anthony Maiani.
Currently the Gamblers are three wins shy of their team record 45 victories which was set during their 2009-10 Anderson Cup-winning season. They are also nine points shy of the team record 95 points they earned in the standings in 2009-10.
The Gamblers are back at home this weekend as they take on the Youngstown Phantoms Friday and Saturday and the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Sunday afternoon. Friday and Saturday are Festival Food family nights, and Sunday afternoon is a skate with the team after the game. For tickets and promotions information visit gamblershockey.com.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)