FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Fort Wayne Komets announced Thursday that Ben Boudreau has been named the 29th head coach of the ECHL team. Boudreau replaces Gary Graham behind the Fort Wayne bench.
Boudreau, 34, will make his pro head coaching debut when the puck drops on the 2019-20 campaign after spending the last five seasons as an assistant, including the last two with Fort Wayne.
“We are very excited to have Ben take over the reigns of the Komet hockey club,” Komets President and Governor Michael Franke said. “Ben has great experience in the ECHL, first with the Edmonton organization at Bakersfield and Norfolk and then as an assistant with the Komets. I know Ben will work hard to assure that we recruit well this off-season and he has a solid plan for the upcoming season.”
Boudreau began his pro career appearing in stints with the IHL’s Flint Generals, the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, the CHL’s Wichita Thunder and the Louisiana Ice Gators of the SPHL.
Boudreau completed his North American pro career in 2009-10 with Flint, appearing in 42 regular season games and all nine playoff games including the IHL Finals against Fort Wayne. He capped his playing career in 2012-13 with Asnieres in France in the IIHF.
Boudreau opened his career as an assistant coach with Bakersfield in 2014-15. He logged two seasons as an assistant coach of the Norfolk Admirals prior to his arrival in Fort Wayne in 2017.
“Ben Boudreau has put in the hard work and is deserving of this opportunity,” Komets Vice President and General Manager David Franke stated. “Ben’s love of Komet hockey, his professional approach and positive communications skills were big factors in awarding him the head coaching job. Ben’s knowledge of the ECHL and his contacts in the NHL, AHL and with player agents are also very beneficial in recruiting.”
The St. Catherines, Ontario native is the son of former Komets standout forward Bruce Boudreau, currently the head coach of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. Bruce Boudreau also served as Fort Wayne’s head coach in 1993-94 and 1994-95.
“I’m humbled and honored to be given the responsibility of being the 29th head coach in the 68-year history of Komet hockey,” Ben Boudreau said. “I’ll always appreciate the Franke Family for giving my the opportunity to showcase what I am capable of. Since my arrival in Fort Wayne the club has treated my family and me as an extension of theirs and shown me what it’s truly like to be a part of the Komet family. Also, I would like to thank Gary Graham for allowing me to grow under his tutelage. I am looking forward to continuing the passion behind the Fort Wayne bench and giving the fans a championship caliber team.”
Boudreau becomes the second assistant coach promoted to head coach this ECHL offseason. The South Carolina Stingrays named assistant Steve Bergin as the team’s new head coach on April 26, just six days after their first round exit in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The only head coaching vacancy in the league now lies with the Indy Fuel.
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