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  • Ben Boudreau

Thursday, July 06, 2017 12:33 pm

New Boudreau joins Komets' coaching staff

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

The last time the Komets had an assistant coach with the surname Boudreau, he went on to become their head coach and, eventually, one of the NHL's best.

Today the Komets hired Ben Boudreau to be an assistant to head coach Gary Graham. The Komets also have a player/assistant coach, Jamie Schaafsma.

Boudreau's father, Bruce, finished his playing career with the Komets in 1992 as a player/assistant coach. He went on to be their head coach in 1993 before being fired in his second season, but it didn't prevent him from going on to coach the last 10 seasons in the NHL. He won the Jack Adams award as the NHL's top coach while with Washington in 2008 and coached Minnesota last season. He also coached Anaheim.

Ben Boudreau began his coaching career in 2014 as an assistant with the ECHL's Bakersfield Condors and spent the last two seasons with the Norfolk Admirals.

"We are excited to welcome Ben and his fiancée, Karla, to the Komet family," Komets general manager David Franke said. "Ben's knowledge, experience and technical expertise will be a big addition to the club. Coach Gary Graham will now have a full-time assistant coach to help daily with practices, game plans, video and player skill development."

Ben Boudreau, 32, played against the Komets while with the Flint Generals from 2008 to 2010. Playing alongside Schaafsma, Boudreau, a center, helped the Generals to the 2010 International Hockey League finals, which they lost to the Komets. His playing career concluded in 2012-13 in France.

The Komets didn't have a full-time assistant coach last season after Konstantin Shafranov left late in the summer to go to Russia for schooling and to further his coaching career.

Under Graham and Schaafsma, the Komets went 45-19-8 for the fourth best regular-season record in the ECHL. They lost to the Toledo Walleye in the second round of the playoffs.

The Komets have nine players signed for this season  -- forwards Schaafsma, Mason Baptista, Taylor Crunk, Gabriel Desjardins, Dennis Kravchenko and Garrett Thompson, and defensemen Jason Binkley, Curtis Leonard and Ryan Lowney.

All of them played for the Komets last season except Kravchenko, who was with Adirondack and they hope can fill the void left by MVP Mike Cazzola, who has signed to play in the United Kingdom.

The Komets open the regular season Oct. 14 at Memorial Coliseum against the Toledo Walleye.

jcohn@jg.net