The Chicago Wolves announced Tuesday that 2002 Calder Cup champion BRAD TAPPER and MARK HARDY will join Wolves head coach JOHN ANDERSON behind the bench for the 2014-15 season as the team looks to defend its Midwest Division title.
“Brad was really innovative as a player,” ANDERSON said. “He knows how to win. He knows the things we need to have for Xs and Os. It’s a good fit for us. I played against Mark in the National Hockey League. John Van Boxmeer really liked him as an assistant coach when they worked together with the Kings. He’s a knowledgeable hockey guy with a wealth of experience.”
TAPPER, a forward for the Wolves from 2001-04, makes the jump to the American Hockey League in his sixth season as a coach. He previously ran the bench for one season with North York in the CCHL and served as an assistant the past four with Florida and Orlando in the ECHL.
The 36-year-old has a league championship on his coaching resume, capturing the 2012 Kelly Cup with Florida. In his four seasons in the ECHL, his teams never failed to make the postseason and posted a 158-102-9-19 record (.597). His forward corps placed in the top 10 in the league in scoring each season, including two second-place finishes, and averaged 3.41 goals per game overall.
The Scarborough, Ontario, native retired as a player in 2009 following a nine-year professional career, including parts of three seasons with the Wolves. During his tenure in Chicago, he contributed 58 points (24G, 34A) in 98 regular-season games and another 11 points (4G, 7A) in 28 postseason tilts.
In addition to his time with the Wolves, TAPPER skated in 71 NHL contests with Atlanta from 2000-03, accruing 25 points (14G, 11A) in 71 games. He also suited up for Binghamton and Philadelphia in the AHL and spent seasons in the International Hockey League and German Elite League, in addition to his collegiate career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
HARDY comes to the Wolves after spending the last three seasons with Ontario in the ECHL, helping them to a second-place finish in the Western Conference each season he was on their staff.
The 55-year-old brings 10 years of NHL coaching experience to the Wolves, having served on the staffs for Los Angeles (1999-2006, 2008-10) and Chicago (2006-08). The 15-year NHL defenseman served as an assistant coach and defensive specialist, including overseeing the third-best penalty killing unit in Kings history in 2001-02 (86.6 percent efficiency).
Prior to his first tenure with Los Angeles, the Samedan, Switzerland, native began his coaching career as a player/coach and then assistant coach in the International Hockey League for five seasons with the Detroit Vipers (1994-95) and Long Beach Ice Dogs (1995-99).
Drafted by Los Angeles in the second round (30th overall) of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, HARDY collected 368 points (62G, 306A) in 915 career regular-season games with Los Angeles, Minnesota, and the New York Rangers. He finished his playing career with 70 points (18G, 52A) in 199 IHL games with Phoenix, Detroit, and Los Angeles.
The 2014-15 AHL regular season begins on Oct. 10 with the Wolves home opener celebration slated for Saturday, Oct. 11. To learn about the team’s ticket specials, call 1-800-THE-WOLVES or visit ChicagoWolves.com.