John Paddock's nightmare assignment as coach of the Adirondack Phantoms is over. Today, he and the Flyers named Joe Paterson, a former Flyer himself, as the new head coach of the team.
Paterson has coached in the AHL before. In fact, he's coached in Adirondack before. After his playing career ended in 1991, Paterson turned to the coaching ranks. He got his start in coaching as an assistant with the Adirondack Red Wings in 1992. After two seasons there, he found himself in his first head coaching assignment with Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL.
Paterson led the Greyhounds to a 77-40-15 record in his two seasons as head coach. In 1999, he signed on as coach of the AHL's Louisville Panthers in their inaugural season. He led the team to a first round postseason exit in his first season and a dismal 21-51-5 mark in his second season. He was the only head coach in franchise history, as the team folded following that second season.
Most recently, Paterson served as an assistant with the Toronto Marlies during the 2008-09 season. His head coach? Former Phantoms bench boss Greg Gilbert, who was fired by the team earlier this season.
Paterson was a member of the Flyers organization in the mid-1980s. He spent most of that time with the Hershey Bears, who were the Flyers AHL affiliate at the time, although he did get 11 games with the big club over the course of two seasons.
After the jump, the Flyers press release on the hiring of Paterson.
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have named Joe Paterson the head coach of the Adirondack Phantoms, according to general manager Paul Holmgren. John Paddock, who had been serving as the interim head coach of the Phantoms since November 8, will return full-time to his duties as assistant general manager of the Flyers.
Paterson, 50 (6/25/60), was named an assistant coach with the Phantoms the same day Paddock was named the interim head coach of the club. He had been serving as a scout for the Atlanta Thrashers organization when he joined the Phantoms.
"When John was named interim head coach on November 8, we did not want it to be for the remainder of the season and we believe this is the right time for Joe to take over the head coaching reins," Holmgren said. "Joe’s wealth of experience in the American Hockey League and his strength as a teacher of young hockey players will be very beneficial to the continued development of our prospects in Glens Falls."
"I’m honored to be the head coach of the Adirondack Phantoms," Paterson said. "It’s a place where I first came to play in the AHL as a player, and it’s also the place where I got my first coaching job as an assistant. We still have some things to do to improve upon as a team, but the building blocks are in place and we’re going to continue to build."
This is Paterson’s second head coaching assignment in the American Hockey League. He was the head coach of the Louisville Panthers, at the time the primary affiliate of the Florida Panthers, for two seasons from 1999-2001. He posted a record of 63-81-12-4 and led the team to a 42-win season and the Calder Cup playoffs in 1999-2000. Paterson also served as head coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League from 1995-97, during which time he coached current San Jose center Joe Thornton.
In addition to his four years of head coaching experience, Paterson brings to the Phantoms an additional 11 years of experience as an AHL assistant coach. His most recent position was with the Toronto Marlies, the AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he was an assistant coach for four seasons from 2005-2009.
Prior to that, Paterson was an AHL assistant in the Edmonton Oilers organization for three seasons from 2002-05. He also served in that capacity for the Beast of New Haven (Carolina Hurricanes) from 1997-99, coaching under current Flyers assistant coach Kevin McCarthy. He made his coaching debut as an assistant with the Adirondack Red Wings in 1992, where he spent three seasons (1992-95).
A former Flyer, Paterson was initially drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the fifth round (87th overall) of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. His 13-year professional career started on a high note in 1980 when, upon the end of his junior career, he joined Detroit’s International Hockey League affiliate, the Kalamazoo Wings, and helped the team win its second consecutive Turner Cup championship.
Paterson played parts of two seasons in the Flyers organization. He was acquired from Detroit along with Murray Craven in exchange for Darryl Sittler on October 10, 1984. He played in 11 regular season games for the Flyers, accumulating 43 penalty minutes. He was also part of the Flyers’ run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1985, contributing three goals and four assists along with 70 PIM in 17 games. He spent most of the two seasons with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate in Hershey, posting 31 goals and 37 assists for 68 points, along with 241 PIM, in 87 games.
Over parts of nine seasons in the NHL with the Flyers, Detroit, Los Angeles, and the New York Rangers, Paterson recorded 19 goals and 37 assists for 56 points and collected 829 penalty minutes in 291 games.
Paterson will make his debut as the head coach of the Phantoms on Sunday, December 26, when they visit the Binghamton Senators.
The Flyers return to action tonight when they host the Florida Panthers at the Wells Fargo Center. Tickets for the game are available online exclusively via ComcastTIX at philadelphiaflyers.com; by phone at 800-298-4200, or in person at the Wells Fargo Center box office.