St. Lawrence

Former AHL Bench Boss Dent joins IceDogs as Associate Coach

Former AHL Bench Boss Dent joins IceDogs as Associate Coach

A man who as a minor league coach is credited with playing a “major role” in the development of players who went on to become Stanley Cup champions is coming home to Canada.

 

Ted Dent, for the past six seasons head coach of the American Hockey League’s Rockford, Ill., IceHogs, the top farm team in the Chicago Blackhawks organization, has joined the Niagara IceDogs coaching staff.

As “associate coach,” Dent, 47, will be newly hired head coach of Billy Burke’s No. 1 assistant on the Ontario Hockey League team’s bench. Dent will be running the defence and the penalty kill as well as being a “great mentor,” IceDogs team owner Bill Burke said.

“He’s a winner and we are very lucky to have him.”

Dent had two years remaining on his contract when he was fired by Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman as part of an overhaul of an organization that has failed to make it past the first round of the NHL playoffs the past two seasons after winning Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

Prior to being named head coach with the IceHogs, Dent, a Toronto native, spent four years in Rockford as an assistant coach. He joined the Chicago organization in 2006-07 as an assistant coach with the Norfolk, Va., Admirals, then competing in the AHL.

Bowman in announcing the coaching change in April thanked Dent for contributions to the Blackhawks organization.

“He played a major role in helping a number of players reach the NHL level, many of whom became Stanley Cup champions,” Bowman, the son of NHL Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, said.

Dent’s three Stanley Cup rings and longevity in the AHL speaks volumes about his “outstanding ability as a coach” as well as his character, Bill Burke said.

“Eleven years in the same organization,” the IceDogs owner said. “Very tough in the AHL when you constantly have your top players moving up, when you still want to win.”

Rockford finished under .500 only once in six seasons under Dent but only made the playoffs twice, each time losing in the first round.

As a player Dent was a left-shooting centre who spent two seasons in the Central Ontario Junior Hockey League before going on to a four-year collegiate career at St. Lawrence University. He made his professional debut with Central Hockey League’s Wichita Thunder and spent the next three seasons seeing action in the ECHL with the Johnstown Chiefs and the Charlotte Checkers.

After taking a year off Dent wrapped up his pro career by playing four games with the ECHL’s Toledo Storm in 1996-97.

In 1994 and 1995 he played roller hockey with the Philadelphia Bulldogs.

As associate coach with the IceDogs Dent succeeds Billy Burke who was promoted to the top job after Dave Bell stunned the team by accepting a position as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Ontario Reign, the top affiliate in the Los Angeles Kings organization.

Ontario is a city of 175,000 less than an hour east of Los Angeles in southern California.

Prior to becoming head coach, Bell spent three seasons behind the IceDogs bench as former general manager and head coach Marty Williamson’s associate coach.

The IceDogs visit the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Saturday, Sept. 23, season opener. Their first home game at Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines is Friday, Sept. 29, against the defending OHL champion Erie Otters.