LAFAYETTE, La. — As part of The Sin Bin’s 2019 SPHL All-Star Team, presented in conjunction with the Southern Professional Hockey League and DASH Auctions, we are proud to announce the head coaches of the Team North and Team South squads. Jean-Guy Trudel of the Peoria Rivermen and Jamey Hicks of the Birmingham Bulls will be the coaches of the Team North and Team South sides, respectively.
Jamey Hicks, Team South Coach
Coach Hicks makes his first appearance to the SPHL All-Star Team this season. His Birmingham Bulls opened the 2018-19 season with a league-record 11-game winning streak to open the season. Looking back to last season, the Bulls have made the biggest turnaround in the league. In 2017-18, Hicks’ Bulls squad finished with a 22-28-6 record, ninth in the SPHL and out of the postseason. As of today, Birmingham is 20-9-2 and sit in third place.
Hicks was unanimously selected as coach of the Team South squad by a polling of the other coaches in the SPHL. The Peterborough, Ontario, native was lauded by his contemporaries as professional, prepared, and dignified.
“It’s a team award,” said Hicks in reaction to his all-star selection, “I’m really happy for our guys, happy for our franchise, and we’re going in the right direction.”
Hicks is no stranger to all-star teams and accolades. During his playing days with the ECHL Birmingham Bulls, Hicks was named to the 1999 ECHL All-Star Team. In the 1997-98 season, Hicks was the ECHL’s most valuable player, leading the league in scoring with 119 points.
On his previous all-star experience in the ECHL, Hicks reflected, “It was really cool… just to be on the same team as some of these guys, and (Minnesota Wild Head Coach) Bruce Boudreau was the coach and I was thinking, ‘That guy’s going to be coaching in the NHL one day.'”
“You take everything you can gain from being around those guys. It’s great to look back on it now,” said Hicks.
Jean-Guy Trudel, Team North Coach
Jean-Guy Trudel is no stranger to the SPHL All-Star Team; 2019 is the third year the Rivermen skipper has been named to the squad. Trudel, a three-time SPHL Coach of the year, has the highest winning percentage (.700) in league history.
This season, Trudel’s Rivermen are currently 26-3-4 and lead the SPHL by ten points at this point of the season. The Sudbury, Ontario, native has his team on pace to win their fourth William B. Coffey trophy as the league’s regular-season champions over his six seasons as coach of the Rivermen.
Driven, passionate, and prepared is how Trudel is described by the other coaches in the SPHL – voted as Team North coach by an overwhelming majority of the league’s coaches.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized by the other coaches in the league, but when I look around this room – it’s all about the guys and all the work they’ve done,” reacted Trudel on his All-Star announcement.
Like Hicks, Trudel was also part of an All-Star experience in the ECHL. During the 1997-98 season, Trudel was named to the ECHL All-Star squad. Trudel, playing with the ECHL incarnation of the Rivermen, scored a career-high 113 points (39G/74A) in 62 games – finishing second to Hicks for the ECHL scoring title.
“It’s a fun experience,” said Trudel about his All-Star experience, “I enjoyed the relaxing part and getting to know all of the other guys that you’re normally rivals against… it’s such a fun atmosphere.”
Trudel stays focused on his ultimate goal: winning the SPHL Presidents Cup after three straight trips to the Final over the last three seasons. “I appreciate all of the personal accolades, but I would give up any award if my guys could lift up that trophy at the end of the year,” said Trudel on the only SPHL honor which has eluded him.
Both Hicks and Trudel will join Mike Campos and Matthew Harding on Tuesday night’s episode of the Inside the SPHL Podcast, where both coaches will talk about the All-Star finalists and the upcoming fan voting. The podcast will air live on The Sin Bin SPHL Facebook page at 8:00 pm CT.
ABOUT THE SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Now in its 15th season, the Southern Professional Hockey League is comprised of 11 members located throughout the southeastern and midwestern United States. Headquartered in Huntersville, North Carolina, the mission of the SPHL is to provide a quality entertainment product structured inside an economic model that is viable for small and mid-size markets and arenas. For more information about the SPHL, visit the league’s website at www.thesphl.com.
DASH (Digital Auction Showdown) is a fan-experience platform designed to enhance a fan’s sporting experience before, during, and after a game by connecting sports teams with their fans through live, in-game auctions. Auctions are an experience familiar to both sports teams and fans so there is no learning curve. The chance to win items directly from the game they are attending or experiences with their favorite player sets the stage for an ongoing, personalized relationship between the team and their fans. As the relationship grows between the team and fan, so does the DASH Fan Experience platform.
ABOUT THE SIN BIN
The Sin Bin is the premier source for coverage of the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL. Armed with a wide array of editors, writers, and photographers, we serve readers across the United States and Canada with team-based reporting, photo galleries, podcasts and more. Our work has been featured on Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy, NBC Sports’ Pro Hockey Talk, ESPN.com and their flagship highlight show, SportsCenter, as well as in Sports Illustrated. For more information about The Sin Bin, visit our website at thesinbin.net as well as on Twitter and Facebook.