When is good news also bad news?
When someone you like leaves, but for a great reason.
That’s how we feel about Ian Herbers stepping down as head coach of the Johnstown Chiefs to become an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Admirals, as you first read in Sunday’s editions of The Tribune-Democrat.
This is a wonderful move for Herbers, who goes from the ECHL up to the American Hockey League – essentially from Class AA to Class AAA, one step away from the big time.
Milwaukee is affiliated with the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators.
But we’ll miss Herbers, who brought both hockey talent and a pleasant demeanor to his job in Johnstown.
Herbers was a class coach who also helped his team improve both seasons he was in town.
“This is one of those bittersweet moments that happen in the crazy world of professional hockey,” Chiefs Vice President and General Manager Bill Bredin said in a team news release.
“On one hand, I’m thrilled for Ian and his family for this wonderful opportunity to advance his career. With Ian’s track record of developing talent and advancing players to the AHL, it’s also very deserving.
“On the other hand, I’m sorry to lose a tremendous coach and co-worker. I’m grateful for Ian’s many contributions to the organization and community and wish him the very best of luck.”
As we’ve noted many times, the ECHL is a developmental league – for players, coaches and even other team personnel.
Now, Herbers climbs another wrung on the hockey ladder.
We expect we’ll soon be reporting the news that he’s been named a head coach in the AHL, and later that he’s headed to the top – the NHL.
Just two weeks ago, we reported that another former Chiefs coach, Scott Allen, had been named an NHL assistant coach with the New York Islanders.
“I am very excited about the new opportunity in Milwaukee,” Herbers said.
“The Admirals have been consistently one of the top teams in the AHL because of the talent and staff that Nashville has assembled.
“I am looking forward to the challenges of helping to develop the players in the Nashville Predators organization.”
Herbers was popular with Chiefs fans, and was always willing to talk hockey or sign auto-graphs.
Likewise, he brought excellent players to Johns-town, and helped those players grow and improve and get their own shots at moving up.
“I am grateful to the Chiefs organization for giving me the chance to improve my coaching skills in Johnstown,” Herbers said.
“Also, I would like to thank all the players and staff that worked hard and made it a pleasure to come to the rink every day.
“Last but not least, thanks to the loyal fans and the community of Johnstown for the support they have shown me and the team the last two seasons.”
Good luck, Ian.
The Chiefs organization is better for the time you spent in Johnstown.
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