He may have narrowly missed out on an automatic berth, but Checkers Jeff Daniels still ended up with recognition for his team’s fast start.
On Wednesday, AHL commissioner David Andrews named Daniels one of two additional coaches for the upcoming All-Star Classic set for Jan. 27-28 in Providence, Rhode Island. Daniels has led the Checkers to a 20-11-5 start, good for first in the South Division and second in the Western Conference behind the Toronto Marlies.
On the Western Conference team, Daniels joins Dallas Eakins, who previously earned the honor by having the conference’s highest winning percentage through games of Dec. 31. The Eastern Conference will be led by Binghamton’s Luke Richardson and Syracuse’s Jon Cooper, the reigning AHL coach of the year who received a commissioner’s nod alongside Daniels on Wednesday.
The event will mark the first All-Star appearance for Daniels, now in his fifth season as a head coach, all with the Carolina Hurricanes’ top AHL affiliates in Albany and Charlotte. During that time, the 44-year-old has compiled a record of 178-149-25. If held or improved for the remainder of this season, his current winning percentage of .625 would represent the best of his career.
During a 15-season playing career between 1998 and 2003, Daniels appeared in 425 NHL games, 334 IHL games and 181 AHL games with Springfield and New Haven. He has won two Stanley Cups, one as a player with the 1992 Pittsburgh Penguins and another as an assistant coach with the 2006 Hurricanes.