LAS VEGAS – The Vegas Golden Knights organization will have to look for a new head coach for their freshly relocated AHL franchise.
On Thursday evening, The Athletic’s Jesse Granger reported that tenured Chicago Wolves Head Coach Rocky Thompson would not be entering a fourth season affiliated with the Golden Knights as their AHL bench boss.
Kelly McCrimmon announces Rocky Thompson will be moving on from the organization.
He will be joining an NHL team. #VegasBorn
— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) July 16, 2020
Not even fifteen minutes after Granger’s initial tweet, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger brought some clarity as to where Thompson was ending up — as an assistant coach on the Pacific Coast.
He’s headed to San Jose to assist Bob Boughner, who is believed to have earned an extension. https://t.co/KIMWWmmJFS
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 16, 2020
The Golden Knights hired Thompson in June 2017 as their first AHL-affliated head coach. His three years coaching the Wolves netted a combined record of 113-71-29 (.599 points percentage) and a 2019 Calder Cup Finals appearance. The 2020-21 season was to be Thomspon’s debut as head coach of Vegas’ new AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights.
Thompson’s coaching experience began in the WHL (Edmonton Oil Kings assistant from 2007-09) before shifting over to the AHL (Oklahoma City Barons assistant from 2010-14). He then spent one season in the NHL as an assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers (2014-15) before bouncing over to the OHL for two seasons with the Windsor Spitfires (his first head coaching gig from 2015-17) before joining the Wolves as head coach.
DID YOU KNOW…
Rocky Thompson was quite the enforcer in his playing days. With a professional career in the NHL and AHL that spanned over parts of 11 seasons, he earned 1,919 penalty minutes over 566 AHL games played, averaging 3.39 PIMs per game. In 25 NHL games played, he racked up 117 PIMs for a per game average of 4.68.
Thompson also accrued over 200 PIMs in an AHL season three times and never dipped below 100 PIMs but twice. His highest total for PIMs in a year (275) was in 2002-03 with the San Antonio Rampage.