Well, the 2014-15 season is flying by and we’d planned to feature the retirement of Gerald Coleman at the start of the season. It’s kind of fitting that it took until late February with Coleman being a great goaltender that has maybe not received the attention he deserves.
Coleman, faced with a third hip surgery in order to continue playing, decided to hang up the goalie pads after the 2013-14 season. He went out in style, leading the Alaska Aces to a Kelly Cup championship in the ECHL, his second with the team in four years.
Gerald Coleman – OHL
The 6’5″ goaltender from Romeoville, Illinois was a second round pick by the London Knights at the 2001 OHL Priority Selection, 27th overall. Coleman was the highest drafted goalie that year and London’s third pick behind Corey Perry and Dylan Hunter. After a year with the U.S. National Under-18 team, he joined the Knights for the 2002-03, appearing in 26 games as a backup to Chris Houle.
Gerald played two more years with the Knights and owned the Dave Pinkney Trophy over that time. The trophy is for the team with the lowest goals against, splitting honours with Ryan MacDonald in 2003-04 and with Adam Dennis in 2004-05.
In 2003-04, Coleman appeared in 33 games, posting a 2.20 goals against average, a .931 save percentage and shutting out opponents five times. His save percentage was tops in the OHL. London reached the Western Conference finals before falling to Adam Dennis and the Guelph Storm in seven games.
The following year, Gerald played in 38 games and put up incredible numbers with a 1.70 GAA and .941 save percentage. Eight of his 38 games were shutouts. He led the league in GAA and save percentage. That 1.70 save percentage stands today as a Knights record. London exchanged MacDonald for Adam Dennis midseason and each played 17 games for London. The Knights went on to capture the Robertson Cup and Memorial Cup.
Gerald Coleman – Pro Hockey
After just his first year in the Ontario Hockey League, the Tampa Bay Lightning selected Coleman in the seventh round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, 224th overall. Gerald played pro hockey from 2005-06 to 2013-14 in the NHL, AHL and ECHL. His NHL experience was limited to two games with the Lightning during the 2005-06 season.
It was in the ECHL where he excelled. In 2008-09 with the Trenton Devils, Coleman was named the ECHL 2nd Team All-Star goalie. He appeared in 40 games for the Devils, putting up a 2.38 GAA, .915 save percentage and three shutouts.
Coleman played for the Alaska Aces for his final four seasons. In 2010-11, he was named ECHL Goaltender of the Year with a 2.19 GAA, .913 save percentage and four shutouts over 47 games. The Aces finished first overall in the ECHL and won the Kelly Cup championship, beating the Kalamazoo Wings in the finals in five games. Gerald was named the 1st Team All-Star goalie.
The following year, Coleman played just 27 games for Alaska because he was called up to the American Hockey League and appeared in 17 games for the Lake Erie Monsters. His AHL numbers were more than respectable with a 2.56 GAA and .922 save percentage. Over his time with the Aces that year, Gerald’s 1.93 GAA was the best in the league.
This past season, 2013-14, Coleman’s time was reduced to 25 games, mainly splitting with Olivier Roy but six other goalies also saw time between the pipes with the Aces. His 2.39 GAA, .910 save percentage and two shutouts helped Alaska to another first overall finish and another Kelly Cup championship. The Aces took out the Cincinnati Cyclones in six games in the final series.