| By Katelyn Gendron-List |
Reminder Assistant Editor
SPRINGFIELD The Springfield Falcons' 2007-2008 Season is shaping up to be one of prodigious changes for the American Hockey League (AHL) club, not only with their new National Hockey League (NHL) affiliate the Edmonton Oilers but also with a brand new roster and coaching staff.
On Aug. 8, Kelly Buchberger, an 18-season NHL veteran was announced as the Falcons new head coach. This is Buchberger's first head coaching position, however he has served as an assistant coach in 2004-2005 with the AHL's Edmonton Road Runners and as the Oilers' Development Coach in 2006-2007.
"I'm happy to have this chance to be a head coach," Buchberger said. "I will be married to the job. I always wanted to stay in the game and be a head coach and to put my ideas into a successful game plan."
The new position came rather abruptly Buchberger stated, as he replaces Geoff Ward who resigned his head coaching position with the Falcons to become an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins earlier this month.
While Buchberger is not a veteran coach, Bruce Landon, president and general manager of the Springfield Falcons stated that he did ask the Oilers if Buchberger was ready to become a head coach and "they said yes."
"The Edmonton Oilers are very committed to this hockey club," Landon said. "I've met with Kelly and I think that he's going to do a heck of a job. He has a sincere and direct approach and will be a great asset."
Landon also stated that he received many calls from Buchberger's former coaches citing their enormous confidence in him, his commitment to the game and hard work ethic.
Buchberger stated that he believes that his experience with the players as the Oilers' Development Coach last year will give him the edge on "knowing the players, their skill levels and where to put them on the ice."
Buchberger added that he is very confident in the players that Edmonton will be sending to Springfield. He believes that both the veterans and rookie players are "quality people" who will combine to create a "quality team on the ice."
The Falcon's will be putting their new team and coaching staff to the test on Oct. 5 when they kick off their first regular season game in Portland. Their home opener at the MassMutual Center will be on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m., against Worcester.
For more information on the Falcon's 2007-2008 schedule or for ticket information call the Falcon's office at 739-3344.