Thrashers Name Assistant Coaches for '08-09
Randy Cunneyworth and Todd Nelson Join Steve Weeks and Tony Borgford on John Anderson's Staff
The Atlanta Thrashers have announced their assistant coaches for the 2008-09 season, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Don Waddell. Joining Head Coach John Anderson’s staff will be former Rochester Americans Head Coach Randy Cunneyworth and former Chicago Wolves Assistant Coach Todd Nelson. Thrashers Assistant Coach Steve Weeks and Video Coach Tony Borgford will remain with the team in their current positions.

“Randy and Todd have a great deal of experience and we’re fortunate to be adding them to the coaching staff,” said Anderson. “They will complement what we already have in place with Steve and Tony and will bring additional expertise to the team. I’m looking forward to working closely as a staff and beginning our first season together.”

Cunneyworth, 47, just completed his eighth season at the helm of the AHL’s Rochester Americans and earned a 306-267-67 record in 640 career games behind the Amerk’s bench. He ranks second on the franchise’s all-time list for games coached and wins and is only the second coach in the franchise’s 52-year history to coach 500 games.

Cunneyworth had his best coaching season in 2004-05 when he led the Amerk’s to a 51-23-6 record, 112 points and the team’s first-ever Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the league’s point champion. He was honored with the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach, becoming only the third Rochester coach to win the award.

Prior to his coaching career, the Etobicoke, Ontario native played 20 seasons of professional hockey, including 16 seasons in the NHL with Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Hartford, Chicago and Ottawa. In 866 career NHL games Cunneyworth recorded 414 points (189 goals, 225 assists) and served as captain for Ottawa for three seasons (1995-1998). He appeared in 273 career AHL games with Rochester and Springfield, tallying 270 points (166 goals, 104 assists). He was originally selected by Buffalo in the eighth round, 167th overall, of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft.

Nelson, 39, has spent the last two seasons working as an assistant coach for Anderson in Chicago (AHL), winning the 2008 Calder Cup with the Wolves. The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native broke into the coaching ranks during the 2001-02 season as a player/assistant coach with the Muskegon Fury of the former United Hockey League. Nelson spent one season as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, before returning to Muskegon to make his head coaching debut with the Fury in 2003-04. He led the team to back-to-back Colonial Cup Championships in his first two seasons and to a third-straight semifinal appearance in 2005-06.

Nelson played 12 seasons of professional hockey, which included NHL stints with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. He appeared in 306 career AHL games with the Portland Pirates, Hershey Bears, Rochester Americans and Grand Rapids Griffins, totaling 168 points (37 goals, 131 assists) and 223 penalty minutes. Nelson captured the 1994 Calder Cup with Portland and was inducted into that franchise’s Hall of Fame in 2007. Originally selected by the Penguins in the fourth round, 79th overall, of the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, Nelson also tallied 172 points (28 goals, 144 assists) and 308 penalty minutes in 464 career International Hockey League games with the Muskegon, Cleveland and Grand Rapids. He was named an IHL All-Star in 1992 and 1993.
Thrashers assistant coaches are better then last year for them. Hopefully they do well with them and help the team players to get better.