After a one-year hiatus away from the Hershey Bears, Troy Mann is coming back as their new bench boss, announced Wednesday as the 25th head coach in franchise history.
“Once again the Hershey Bears had an abundance of outstanding candidates interested in guiding the Hockey Club,” general manager Doug Yingst said in a news release. “After a successful return to the head coaching role last season, and after four proven years here, I am thrilled to welcome Troy Mann back to Hershey.”
An assistant coach for the Capitals’ AHL affiliate from 2009-13, the 44-year-old Mann briefly left to work as the head coach with the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL. The Condors went 36-30-6 during his first and only season and advanced to the Western Conference finals in the Kelly Cup playoffs. With the Bears, Mann had worked in particular with the defensemen and a successful penalty kill, which finished among the AHL’s top 10 for all four seasons he was there. Current NHLers Karl Alzner, John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov all passed through Hershey under Mann’s tutelage. As a player, Mann won a Kelly Cup title with the Mississippi Sea Wolves under former Hershey and Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau.
“Troy has a wide range of coaching experience and he understands the importance of developing, teaching and leading our young players to success,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “We feel Troy is ready for the next step in his coaching career and are very pleased to welcome him back to Hershey.”
Joining Mann on the bench will be new assistant coach Bryan Helmer, a former Hershey player who recently spent the past season as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. Helmer’s greatest success came with the Bears, when he grew into the AHL’s all-time points leader for a blue-liner (564) over the third longest tenure in league history (1,117 regular season games). He also played 146 games in the NHL with Phoenix, St. Louis, Vancouver and the Capitals.
“Bryan Helmer is without a doubt a future Hall-of-Famer,” Yingst said. “He was a winner on the ice in both of his years here in Hershey, and I knew that he would become a very successful coach. I am proud to give Bryan the opportunity to continue his coaching career and to help Troy guide our team back to the championship form it had when he played.”
A news conference is scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. in Hershey. More to come after that.