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Troy Mann

Troy Mann reflects on 500 games coached in the American Hockey League

December 13, 2021

Troy Mann joined elite company when the Belleville Senators’ Head Coach led his team through his 500th AHL game, becoming one of only five active coaches in the league to have reached the elusive mark.

Although pleased to hit the five-century mark in games coached, Mann is equally focused on the dual challenge of developing talent and racking up a strong record with an emphasis on the postseason.

“It’s a day-to-day situation where we are striving to get players to the NHL, and ultimately you want to win a Calder Cup.”

After Sunday’s matchup, Mann has a 267-180-30-24 regular-season record through eight seasons. A resume that also includes numerous playoff successes. He led Hershey to two Atlantic Division titles and a 2016 Eastern Conference Championship. Perhaps most notably is his track record in helping guide players to full-time roles at hockey’s highest level.

“When you see that young player that is drafted get their first NHL opportunity. That’s a real special moment, and it should be when you’re a head coach in the AHL. There [have] been some fine moments in terms of what we’ve been able to accomplish over three-plus years with Ottawa with a number of prospects thriving up there now,” Mann said of his role in promoting Josh Norris, Drake Batherson, Nick Paul, Filip Gustavsson and Alex Formenton.

He continued reflecting on his coaching career at the AHL level. “I certainly look back at the Hershey days as well, and Washington topped it off with a Stanley Cup in 2018. I believe there were 14 guys on the ice that night that raised the cup. Obviously, they all had different roles. Some didn’t play, but when they’re on the ice with the cup above their heads and I played some type of role for that to happen. That’s certainly special. You strive for that at this level, getting the prospects up there. At the end of the day, you look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Hey, you’re doing your job’ ”

Mann also showed considerable longevity as a professional hockey player. The future coach played 12 professional seasons as a centerman, capturing a Kelly Cup (the ECHL’s top prize) in 1999 with the Mississippi Sea Wolves.

While there is little certainty in hockey, it is well known that Mann has the attention and respect of the entire Senators’ organization. The AHL veteran looks forward to when he can make his NHL head coaching debut. Until then, Belleville will continue to benefit from his expert leadership and mentoring.

Submitted by: Joel Vanderlaan (@Joelvanderlaan)