GLENS FALLS — Coach Cail MacLean, who built the hockey operations for the Adirondack Thunder, is leaving the team, multiple sources in the organization told The Post-Star.
This is the latest, and perhaps the biggest in hockey terms, of many changes for the organization, which has a new owner and is working on a new affiliate.
Asked for confirmation, MacLean, team president Jeff Mead and multiple representatives of the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition, which owns the team declined to comment. Sources who confirmed his departure declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
MacLean’s contract with the Thunder is up for renewal and it is late in the offseason to not have come to an agreement. There is, however, an opening for assistant coach with the AHL Stockton Heat. The same people hiring for that position hired MacLean to coach the Thunder.
MacLean previously expressed interest in remaining in Glens Falls with the program he built over the past two years. A move to the AHL, however, even as an assistant, would be a step up for him. That could reflect well on the Thunder as a good development team for staff and players both.
Depending on who the Thunder find to replace MacLean, this could be a blow to the organization. MacLean led the team to the playoffs each of his two seasons, the first playoff appearances in 10 years for Glens Falls hockey.
Over the past two seasons, every player asked why he came to Glens Falls named MacLean as the primary reason. Veteran and leader Pete MacArthur, for example, told coaches last summer that he didn’t want to play for anyone other than MacLean.
That could make this a bigger change than the affiliation. The affiliate’s biggest role is in sending players, but usually accounts for less than a quarter of the players. Last season, 48 players made the Thunder lineup; 12 of them were sent down by an affiliate.
MacLean’s reputation (the mention of his name often draws praise unprompted) played a large part in bringing in the other 36 players, including the top five in games played and points.
Some players have signed with teams overseas, which is not uncommon. Five players (defenseman Kevin Lough and forwards Terrence Wallin, J.C. Campagna, James Henry and Austin Orszulak) have resigned the Thunder already.
MacLean also has been involved in the community and been cognizant of the team’s marketing efforts, setting a tone for the rest of the team.
The Coalition will have to move quickly on finding a new coach. It is late in the offseason to make these changes and the new coach will need to get up to speed and start recruiting players. The team and coalition declined to comment on the search for a new coach.
It is unclear what this means for assistant coach Alex Loh.