The Ottawa Senators announced today that Kurt Kleinendorst will not return to the Belleville Senators as head coach for the 2018-19 American Hockey League season.
Kleinendorst led the Sens during their inaugural season to a 29-42-2-3 record and a tie for fifth place finish in the North Division but ultimately missed out on a berth in the Calder Cup playoffs.
“After extensive deliberation, we have mutually agreed with Kurt that the time is right for a new voice in Belleville,” said Belleville Senators general manager Randy Lee. “Kurt has been instrumental in the development of many current Ottawa and Belleville Senators players. His ability to help players understand ‘what it takes to be a pro’ has benefited our organization immensely. Personally, I would like to thank Kurt for the class and integrity by which he carried himself. As the head coach who guided us to our first Calder Cup championship, we will always hold Kurt in high regard.”
Kleinendorst re-joined the Senators organization on a two-year contract ahead of the 2016-17 season with the Binghamton Senators in his second stint with Ottawa’s AHL affiliate. The Grand Rapids, MN., native led the franchise to its first and currently only Calder Cup championship in 2011.
“We’re extremely grateful for the two years Kurt spent developing our prospects in Binghamton and Belleville and we wish him success in his next opportunity,” said Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion.
The search for the Belleville Senators next head coach will begin immediately.
“Kurt has been instrumental in setting the foundation for our team,” said Belleville Senators COO Rob Mullowney. “His willingness to be an active member of the Bay of Quinte community along with his tireless work as a mentor and developer of our players and staff has been invaluable to the club.”