GHOST PIRATES TO AFFILIATE WITH THE NHL’S VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS, BENNETT NAMED TEAM’S FIRST HEAD COACH
GHOST PIRATES TO AFFILIATE WITH THE NHL’S VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS ORGANIZATION
RICK BENNETT NAMED TEAM’S FIRST HEAD COACH
The Savannah Ghost Pirates have announced an NHL/AHL affiliation with the Vegas Golden Knights and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights when they make their ECHL debut in October 2022. Rick Bennett has been named the first Head Coach for the Ghost Pirates.
Vegas has taken the NHL by storm since joining the League in 2017. Since their debut, the Golden Knights have made the playoffs four out of five seasons and have become one of the NHL’s prominent franchises.
“We have confidence that the Ghost Pirate’s NHL/AHL partnership with the Vegas Knights organization will provide us with a successful and hard working team,” said Ghost Pirates president Bob Ohrablo. “The reception we have received from the Savannah community has been overwhelming. Our goal was to sign an affiliation with a premier NHL franchise. With this announcement we can say that we’ve accomplished this.”
“We are proud to be sending our players to develop with the Savannah organization,” said Tim Speltz, the general manager of the Henderson Silver Knights who will be heavily involved in running the hockey operations of the Ghost Pirates. “Savannah has opened their arms to professional hockey and we are excited about being an important part of this.”
In conjunction with the NHL/AHL affiliation announcement, the team introduced Rick Bennett as the head coach for the Savannah Ghost Pirates. Bennett brings a wealth of experience and knowledge as a premier player and as a coach he has earned a reputation as an excellent teacher and motivator. Prior to joining the Las Vegas Knights organization, he was one of the top collegiate coaches in the Country at Union College in Albany, NY where he won the National Championship in 2014, ECAC regular season titles (2012, 2014, 2017) and ECAC Conference titles in 2012, 2013 and 2014. He compiled a 168-126-41 record over 11 years.
“Rick brings a long career as a successful player and coach,” explained Andy Kaufmann, the Ghost Pirates CEO. “We are thrilled to welcome him to our family and introduce him to the Savannah community!”
Bennett played in the NHL with the NY Rangers as well as 351 American Hockey League games, and 265 ECHL games.
The Savannah Ghost Pirates, proud affiliate of the NHL Golden Knights and AHL Silver Knights, begin play in October 2022 at the beautiful Enmarket Arena. The Ghost Pirates are a development team for the American Hockey League’s Henderson Silver Knights, which ultimately sends players to the Golden Knights. The Ghost Pirates hockey operations will be run by the Las Vegas/Henderson hockey management team and coached by Rick Bennett. The management team includes George McPhee (President of Hockey Operations), Kelly McCrimmon (General Manager of Vegas), Tim Speltz (General Manager of Henderson) and Andrew Lugerner (Director of Hockey Legal Affairs).
Rick Bennett,54, brings over 22 years of coaching experience to the Ghost Pirates and has spent the past 17 seasons at Union College (ECAC). Bennett has served has head coach at Union College since 2011, compiling a 168-126-41 record while leading the Dutchman to a NCAA National Championship in 2014, three ECAC regular season titles in 2012, 2014, 2017 and three ECAC Conference titles in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Prior to his head coaching career, Bennett also spent 11 seasons as an associate/assistant coach at Union College and Providence College.
Bennett competed at all levels of hockey during his playing career from 1986-1999. He appeared in 15 games with the NHL’s New York Rangers (1990-1992) and also totaled 181 points in 351 American Hockey League (AHL) games in stints with the Binghamton Rangers, Springfield Indians, Springfield Falcons, Hershey Bears and Albany River Rats from 1991-1997. In addition, Bennett registered 199 points in 265 ECHL appearances with the Jacksonville Lizards Kings and Pee Dee Pride, serving in a player/assistant coach role with both teams.
Bennett was also a standout player at Providence College and was named a Hobey Baker Finalist (Top Collegiate Player) for the 1989-1990 season.
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The Las Vegas Golden Knights are a National Hockey League team that is entering its sixth season in 2022-23. The team has made the Stanely Cup Playoffs four of it’s five seasons, including an unheard of first year trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Henderson Silver Knights recently completed their third season of AHL play. They are based in Henderson, NV, a suburb of Las Vegas and are owned and operated by the Las Vegas Golden Knights.