With last night’s addition from Seattle, the Checkers coaching staff is now intact ahead of the team’s return to play for the 2021-22 season.
A familiar face will be at the helm, as Geordie Kinnear will serve as the sixth head coach in Charlotte’s franchise history. The 48-year-old has been the head coach for Florida’s AHL affiliate since 2016-17, but was previously an assistant coach with the Checkers from their inaugural AHL season until the 2015-16 campaign.
With the Checkers having a dual affiliation with both Florida and Seattle this coming season, the Kraken were able to appoint an assistant coach to Kinnear’s staff in Charlotte. They opted for the experience-laden Dan Bylsma, who had spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach with Detroit.
The 50-year-old has eight seasons as an NHL head coach under his belt, including a six-season run in Pittsburgh from 2008-2014 that saw him capture a Stanley Cup in 2009 and a Jack Adams Award in 2011 as the league’s most outstanding coach.
Additionally, the Charlotte staff will include Leo Luongo as the Assistant Coach, Goaltending and Alec Rippetoe as the Team Services Manager and Video Coordinator.
Luongo is entering his fifth season as the goaltending coach for Florida’s AHL affiliate and is a part of the Panthers’ recently formed Goaltending Excellence Department. Prior to joining the Panthers, the Quebec native served as a goaltending coach or consultant in the QMJHL, AHL and Swiss league starting in 2008.
Rippetoe is entering his second season as a video coach for Florida’s AHL affiliate, having been on the Springfield Thunderbirds’ staff for three seasons prior to that.
Overseeing things is Florida Vice President of Player Personnel & Development Gregory Campbell, who will serve as Charlotte’s general manager. The 37-year-old veteran of over 800 NHL games joined the Panthers last season after spending four years as a Player Development Coach in the Columbus organization. Over his playing career Campbell won both a Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011 and a Memorial Cup with Kitchener in 2003.