A former NHLer from Kingston best known for his shot-blocking ability as a player is now running the bench for the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Jay McKee, once a Buffalo Sabre and a Pittsburgh Penguin, became the fifth head coach of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) franchise on Tuesday.
The OHL veteran played 180 games over three seasons for the Sudbury Wolves and Niagara Falls Thunder, and was a first-round NHL draft pick for the Sabres in 1995.
The defenceman played 802 games in his NHL career before moving on to coaching in 2011 working with Niagara University, the AHL’s Rochester Americans, and the OHL’s Erie Otters and Kitchener Rangers in a nine-year span.
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“Jay brings the type of character, leadership and experience to lead our young men forward both on and off the ice,” Bulldogs president and general manager Steve Staios said in a statement following the hiring.
“Our coaching staff all have experience at the NHL level as players and all showed commitment and leadership through their playing careers.”
In a Periscope presser on Tuesday, McKee said he liked the “building blocks” that appear to be in place within’ the Bulldogs lineup and suggested the “well built team” has room for success.
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McKee said he took the job following “excellent conversations” with Staios amid a mutual respect for each other due to similarities within their pro hockey careers.
“What I like most is our values are very aligned,” McKee said.
“So if you look at the attitude we want the dressing room, the commitment from the players, the culture that we want to build, everything was really in alignment when we spoke. ”
The Bulldogs also announced that former fellow NHLer Andreas Karlsson, whose playing career included time with the Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning, has been hired as assistant coach.
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Karlsson’s coaching resume includes time with Frolunda’s under-20 juniors and as development coach for its senior team.
He also spent a pair of seasons at York University, and as McKee’s assistant in Kitchener from 2017 to 2020.
Andrew Campbell, who joined the Bulldogs during the 2019-20 season, returns to his role as an assistant coach.
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