INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indy Fuel announced a major change in their hockey operations on Monday. Scott Hillman was relieved of his coaching duties, and assistant coach Bernie John was promoted to interim head coach for the remainder of the season. After a promising inaugural season in which the Fuel narrowly missed out on the playoffs, Indy currently sits in fourth place in the Midwest Division with a 27-30-2 record. Hillman’s overall record with the Fuel was 58-60-6-7.
Here is the official team release:
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indy Fuel, proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks and American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs, announced today that the team has relieved head coach Scott Hillman and named Bernie John as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2015-16 season.
John, 43, has spent the last two seasons in the Fuel organization as assistant coach after one season with the USHL’s Indiana Ice in the same role. Over the course of a ten-year playing career that spanned from the International Hockey League to the Central Hockey League, John was a part of the 1999-00 Indianapolis Ice CHL team that captured the Ray Miron President’s Cup as league champions. He also led all Ice defensemen in points in all five of his seasons with the club and is the all-time career assist leader in Indianapolis professional hockey history with 262.
“We are looking ahead with this move,” said Indy Fuel Chairman Jim Hallett. “Bernie John has been a part of this organization from the beginning and as we begin the search for a full-time head coach his name will certainly be on that list. But this season isn’t over and the Fuel still have a chance at a playoff berth. With his championship experience and professional resume, we want to provide an immediate spark for the team for the remaining 13 games.”
“At the same time, the organization thanks Scott Hillman for all of his contributions both on and off the ice in helping the Fuel from before the team had played a game until now,” continued Hallett. “We certainly wish him and his family the best in their future endeavors.”
John will make his head coaching debut at home this Friday against the Evansville IceMen at 7:35 pm as the Fuel continue the fight for playoff position in the ECHL’s Western Conference. The Fuel will begin the search for a new coach immediately.