Thomas navigates through a uneven summer, lands in Cincinnati
Matt Thomas' run in Anchorage had ended. UAA had let him go as head hockey coach after five seasons. So, he and his family took some time off and went to Idaho to decompress. They also visited family in Canada. Now, it was time find another position coaching hockey.
But as he put it, there are more qualified people than jobs. His aim was to get back into the college game, but the right offer didn't come. Towards the end of spring, through industry contacts, he and the Cincinnati Cyclones connected. Ultimately, he was headed back to the ECHL where he had so much experience.
KTVA spoke with Thomas who along with his family has now relocated to Cincinnati to take the helm of the Cyclones, an affiliate of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres.
"As the summer went on there were some jobs that I didn't pursue early in hopes of getting to stay in the collegiate game and when things didn't line up for me I was fortunate that a job like this opened up and they were interested in me," he said.
Thomas had worked in the ECHL before with Atlantic City, Fresno and Stockton.
And though he's back in the lower 48, he has fond memories of Alaska.
"There's not a bad thing to say about our experience up there from a family standpoint. We're excited for the next chapter but we'll always have a special place in our heart for Anchorage and the entire state of Alaska."
The affiliation with the Sabres was a selling point. He says he and the organization believe strongly in the three-tier system of NHL, AHL and ECHL. Now he has another chance to use those skills to navigate and develop players to get them up to the big club.
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