Updated: Tuesday, 05 Jun 2012, 6:42 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 05 Jun 2012, 2:28 PM EDT
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PENSACOLA, Fla. - The Pensacola Ice Flyers ownership group is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Gary Graham of Fort Wayne, Indiana, making him the new head coach of the team, effective June 15.
"Gary brings extensive hockey knowledge, championship experience and excellent recruiting avenues to our organization," owner Tim Kerr said. "We wanted to make sure we have the right person on and off the ice to lead our team, and every person I talked to about Gary had nothing but positives to share with me."
There was tremendous interest in the coaching position for the Ice Flyers. "We received nearly 40 resumes and with his success and the quality people he has been surrounded by, Gary's definitely stood out," said Ice Flyers' minority partner Greg Harris.
Graham comes to the Ice Flyers from the very successful Fort Wayne Komets organization that is moving from the Central Hockey League (CHL) to the East Coast Hockey League. As an assistant coach, he has spent the last four seasons under the guidance of former NHL player and veteran coach, Al Sims. During those four seasons in Fort Wayne, Graham has won three championships - two while in the International Hockey League (IHL) and one just this past season while in the CHL.
"I have been fortunate enough over the past four seasons to see what it takes to win championships. It is an attitude, a culture that is defined right from training camp," said Graham. "It takes men who have character and possess a willingness to get better everyday. This is what our team will be built on. This community deserves a team that competes for sixty minutes night in night out, and that is what they are going to get.
Graham came very highly recommended from numerous sources and was asked to join Kerr and Harris in Pensacola for an interview. "Gary is enthusiastic and passionate about this great game," Kerr added. "In our time with Gary, he shared the same philosophies, ideals and morals that we want leading our team and organization, and representing myself, Greg and the Ice Flyers family both on and off the ice."
"He has been groomed in a successful organization and I am eager to see his past success carry over to Ice Flyers' success," Harris stated.
Coach Graham will have a formal introduction in front of the fans and media that will be scheduled in the near future. Graham added, "I look forward to meeting all the great fans I have heard about and look forward to building new relationships with them and the business community."
Graham finished by saying; "I would like to first thank my family for all their support over the past nine years. I would also like to thank Al Sims and David Franke of the Komets' organization for all their guidance and support over the past four seasons. Lastly, I would like to thank Tim Kerr and Greg Harris for this great opportunity and their belief in me."
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