The Portland Pirates currently sit 12th in the 15 team Eastern Conference of the American Hockey League. However, the team is on a roll and are just eight points, or four wins, out of fifth place. Behind the bench are three Ontario Hockey League grads, including one that will be inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2014.
Ray Edwards – Head Coach
Edwards played four years in the OHL from 1987-88 to 1990-91 with the Sudbury Wolves, Guelph Platers / Owen Sound Platers and Belleville Bulls. Ray was a second round pick by the Wolves at the 1987 OHL Priority Selection, 16th overall. In 1989-90, he tied for tenth in the league with 201 penalty minutes. The following year, he moved up to third in a season split between the Platers and Bulls. His 218 PIM placed him just a fighting major behind Louie DeBrusk of the London Knights and a double-minor behind Justin Morrison of the Kingston Frontenacs.
Undrafted, Edwards played pro from 1991-92 to 1997-98, all in the ECHL. His last four years were spent with the Huntington Blizzard. The Blizzard became the Texas Wildcatters before becoming the current Ontario Reign. Over his ECHL career, he played 309 regular season games, scoring 83 goals and assisting on 91 for 174 points. Edwards sat 1,253 PIM over that time. Ray played just 11 Kelly Cup playoff games, adding three assists. In 1995-96 with Huntington, he sat 330 minutes but that did not even place him the ECHL’s top ten.
Since retiring as a player, Edwards has had head coaching jobs in the ECHL, CHL and AHL with no championships yet. 2013-14 is Ray’s third year as head coach of the Pirates.
John Slaney – Assistant Coach
We won’t go into a whole lot of detail on Slaney in this article. We just featured him and the other 2014 AHL Hall of Fame inductees in a recent article. For more detailed info on John’s hockey career, check out this article: John Slaney AHL Hall of Fame.
Slaney played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1988-89 to 1991-92, all with the Cornwall Royals. John played pro hockey from 1992-93 to 2010-11 in the AHL, NHL, IHL, Germany’s DEL and the Czech Extraliga. Slaney has the destinction of winning both the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL’s top defenseman and the Eddie Shore Award (twice) as the AHL’s top blue liner.
2013-14 is Slaney’s third year as assistant coach with Portland.
Mike Minard – Assistant Coach
Minard played one year in the OHL, 1995-96, split between the Detroit Junior Whalers and the Barrie Colts. Mike was a fourth round pick by the Edmonton Oilers at the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, 83rd overall. He played one game between the pipes in the National Hockey League, with the Oilers during the 1999-00 season.
Mike played pro hockey from 1996-97 to 2007-08 in the ECHL, AHL, UHL, IHL, CHL, NHL and the United Kingdom’s EIHL. Perhaps his best year in pro hockey was 2005-06 with the Belfast Giants in the EIHL. That was the year that Theo Fleury gave hockey in Ireland a huge boost by starring with the Giants. Belfast finished first overall by fell in the semi-finals in the post season. Minard was named the Second Team All-Star goaltender.
2013-14 is Mike Minard’s first year behind the bench with Portland.