Bednar replaces NHL-bound Larsen as Falcons head coach
SPRINGFIELD – The Columbus Blue Jackets, NHL affiliate of the Springfield Falcons, announced changes to the leadership team in both cities.
The Blue Jackets signed former Falcons head coach Brad Larsen to a multi-year contract to serve as an assistant coach on head coach Todd Richards’ staff and named Jared Bednar his replacement behind the bench in Springfield.
Originally hired by the Falcons as an assistant coach prior to the 2010-11 season, Larsen was promoted to head coach on May 21, 2012, and guided the club to a 92-45-15 record and a pair of Northeast Division titles in two seasons behind the bench.
In his first year as Springfield’s bench boss, he guided the club to a 45-22-9 record, which represented a 21-point improvement over the previous season.
The Falcons posted the first 100-point campaign in franchise history in 2013-14, finishing with the AHL’s third-best record at 47-23-6.
The 36-year-old native of Nakusp, British Columbia, Larsen enjoyed a 13-year playing career that saw him register 19-29-48 and 134 penalty minutes in 294 NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers. He also appeared in 384 career AHL contests before retiring at the end of the 2009-10 season.
Bednar has served as an assistant coach with the Falcons since July 23, 2012, helping the club capture back-to-back Northeast Division titles in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
“Jared has been instrumental in the development of several of our prospects in Springfield while serving as an assistant coach and was a big part of the team’s recent success,” said MacFarland, who oversees hockey operations of Columbus’ professional affiliates. “He’s very well-respected throughout the hockey community and we’re confident he will excel in his new role within our organization.”
Bednar, 42, served as the head coach of the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen from 2010-12, amassing a record of 81-63-12 over the course of his two seasons with the club. He joined the Rivermen after serving as an assistant coach to Jim Playfair with the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat during the club’s inaugural 2009-10 season.
In 2008-09, Bednar led the South Carolina Stingrays to a 42-23-6 record and the Kelly Cup championship in just his second season as the ECHL club’s head coach. He compiled an 89-45-9 mark during his stint with South Carolina from 2007-09. The Yorkton, Saskatchewan, native was an assistant coach with the Stingrays from 2002-07 during which time South Carolina qualified for the playoffs in all but one season.
A defenseman, Bednar skated in 148 career AHL/International Hockey League games with Grand Rapids, St. John’s and Rochester, as well as 434 career ECHL contests with Huntington and South Carolina. He won league titles with the Stingrays in both 1997 and 2001.
The Falcons announced recently that they re-signed forward Trent Vogelhuber and defenseman Denny Urban for the 2014-15 season.
Vogelhuber, 25, recorded nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 30 games for the Falcons this past season and appeared in one postseason game tallying an assist. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Vogelhuber has posted five goals and 11 assists in 57 regular season games over the past two seasons with the Falcons.
He began his rookie campaign in 2012-2013 with the ECHL’s Evansville IceMen posting six goals and 16 points prior to being called up to Springfield on Feb. 17, 2013.
The Dublin, Ohio, native played collegiately at Miami University and helped the RedHawks advance to the NCAA championship game as a freshman in 2008-2009. Vogelhuber was selected by the Blue Jackets in the seventh round (No. 211 overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Urban, 25, registered 11 points (two goals, nine assists) and a +4 rating in 13 games for the Falcons after being acquired from the San Antonio Rampage on Feb. 20 in exchange for forward Tim Miller. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound blue-liner Urban has recorded six goals and 36 points through 79 AHL games between Worcester, San Antonio and Springfield. He turned pro in the 2010-11 season, playing three seasons (2010-13) with Reading of the ECHL, recording 28 goals and 82 points in 117 career ECHL games.
The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native played collegiately with Robert Morris University (RMU) from 2007 to 2011 and ranks first all-time for RMU defensemen in goals (28) and is still the all-time defensemen points’ leader with 112 points in 136 career games with RMU.