The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Chiefs

August 26, 2009

Chiefs Bredin rolls with the punches

No coach? No worries. No affiliates? No problem. Johnstown Chiefs General Manager Bill Bredin is about as upbeat as one in his position possibly could be with a little more than a month until the team begins its 22nd ECHL training camp.

Bredin knows he and majority owner Neil Smith must find a head coach – and must do so rather quickly.

“I want to have a contract signed with an official start date of Sept. 1 and have him here in Johnstown on Sept. 15,” Bredin said Wednesday. “That would be the ideal scenario for me.”

The fact that former coach Ian Herbers had already received commitments from

23 players to skate with the Chiefs has provided at least some leeway. The Chiefs announced Wednesday they had re-signed 6-foot-4 defenseman David Schulz for a second season. A steady defender who has grit and the ability to score points, Schulz joined previously signed players Matt Robinson, Sean Berkstresser, Ryan Menei, Mike Knight, Greg Gallagher and Kyle Bushee.

Herbers earned a promotion as an assistant coach of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals on Aug. 3.

Since then, the Chiefs’ two-year affiliation with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and AHL affiliate Lake Erie Monsters lapsed. Colorado instead signed with Charlotte.

This week, the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets and their AHL affiliate in Syracuse opted to sign an ECHL agreement with Gwinnett after a season with the Chiefs.

“Both organizations were pleased with our relationship from a hockey operation standpoint,” Bredin said.

The GM didn’t elaborate, but speculation surrounding the Chiefs’ apparent financial difficulties indicated that the monetary obligations the ECHL team had to its now former NHL affiliates was yet another hurdle. NHL parent clubs usually receive financial compensation as part of the affiliation agreement.

When Columbus hooked up with Gwinnett, a story in The Columbus Dispatch closed with this line, “Two potential reasons for the change: the Jackets like Gladiators coach Jeff Pyle and the Georgia-based franchise is financially sound.”

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