The United States Hockey League today announced that Cary Eades of the Sioux Falls Stampede has been named the 2012-13 USHL Coach of the Year as determined by a vote of USHL coaches and general managers.
In just his first season behind the bench for the Stampede, Eades led the team to a 45-17-2 record and the top spot in the USHL Western Conference. The 45 wins tied for the most in the USHL (Dubuque Fighting Saints) and were the most in team history, surpassing the previous record of 43 during the 2005-06 season. Sioux Falls also recorded 24 victories on home ice to set a new team record, while their 21 victories on the road led the entire USHL.
The Stampede earned a team record 92 points in the standing under the direction of Eades this season, 51 more points than they accumulated last year. That increase represents the largest turnaround in USHL history from one season to the next, surpassing the 50-point improvement made by the Green Bay Gamblers in the 2008-09 season during the first year with Jon Cooper as head coach.
Sioux Falls hit new offensive highs with Eades at the helm as they scored 241 goals, the most for the team in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present). They were just one of three USHL teams that boasted six different players who scored 20 goals or more, and the team ranked third in the League averaging 3.77 goals per contest.
The Stampede were also one of the top teams defensively as they allowed the fourth fewest goals in the USHL (187), giving up 2.92 per game. Their penalty killing unit was among the best in the League also as they ranked third with an 84.8% success rate at stopping opponent power plays.
A number of players achieved individual success under the leadership of Coach Eades. Forward Dennis Kravchenko blossomed in his second USHL season (first with the Stampede) and was one of the League’s top scorers as he produced 63 points (21g, 42a) over 56 games to rank 12th overall in scoring. In his first season with the Stampede, forward C.J. Franklin ranked tied for sixth in the USHL with his team-leading 32 goals and tied for third with seven game-winners. Tony Calderone scored 29 goals while playing in all 64 regular season games and was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team. Charlie Lindgren recorded a League best 35 victories between the pipes to set a new Stampede record for victories in a season by a goaltender.
Overall, 17 players on the season-ending roster for the Stampede have earned opportunities at NCAA Division I hockey programs following their USHL careers.
"It didn't take long for Coach Eades to turn the Stampede from a team that didn't make the playoffs, into a contender for both the Anderson and the Clark Cup this past season," said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince, "but if you know Cary's record of achievement in hockey, that's not a surprise. His team was tough but disciplined on the ice, exciting to watch, and off the ice in Sioux Falls continued a tradition of being one of the League's best community citizens. Congratulations to one of the most innovative and successful coaches in the game – an accolade that comes not only from me, but from Cary's coaching brethren who voted him Coach of the Year."
This season marked a return to the USHL for Eades after nearly two decades coaching outside the League. He previously coached the Dubuque Fighting Saints for two seasons (1991-93) and led them to a 57-32-7 record. His 100th USHL coaching victory came this season during a 4-3 win over Dubuque on April 6th. It is just the second time a Sioux Falls Stampede head coach has been named the USHL Coach of the Year, following Kevin Hartzell who earned the honor during the 2005-06 season.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)