Former coach of Sault Ste. Marie to guide American Hockey League
team after leading Greyhounds to best regular-season record in OHL
ST. LOUIS -- Now that the Blues are the sole affiliation with the American Hockey League's San Antonio Rampage, settling on a new coach was a top priority, one that was finalized on Tuesday morning.
The Blues announced that former Sault Ste. Marie coach Drew Bannister will take over as coach of the Rampage this season.
The 44-year-old Bannister spent the past three seasons coaching the Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League and led the Soo to franchise records in both wins (55; they were 55-7-6) and points (116) en route to capturing the franchise's fifth Hamilton Spectator Trophy as the OHL regular season champion before being eliminated in the OHL Final in six games against Robert Thomas and the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Bannister won the Matt Leyden Trophy as OHL coach of the year and Janes Brian Kilrea Award as Canadian Hockey League's coach of the year.
"I'm incredibly appreciative of the opportunity that the Blues and Rampage have afforded me," Bannister said in a statement. "I want to express my gratitude to all of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound staff members, players and ownership. I look forward to instilling a winning culture in San Antonio as we continue to develop the young and talented players in the St. Louis system."
Prior to joining Sault Ste. Marie, Bannister began his coaching career as an assistant coach for three seasons with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack.
"We are very excited to have Drew join our organization,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in a statement. "He has proven himself over the past few seasons in the OHL and will be a perfect fit as we continue to develop our prospects through our affiliation with San Antonio."
Bannister was a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 and played six seasons in the NHL with the Lightning, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers; he had 30 points in 164 regular season games.
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