CYCLONES INK THOMAS TO MULTI-YEAR EXTENSION
For Immediate Release: September 4, 2019
CYCLONES INK THOMAS TO MULTI-YEAR EXTENSION
Reigning ECHL Coach of the Year Led Team to Second Regular Season Title
Cincinnati, OH- The Cincinnati Cyclones have agreed to terms with head coach Matt Thomas on a multi-year contract extension. Per team policy, the terms and conditions of Thomas’ contract were not disclosed.
“I am extremely grateful to [Cyclones Owner] Ray Harris and [General Manager] Kristin Ropp for this opportunity,” said Thomas. “My family and I have quickly become integrated into the Cincinnati community, and we look forward to continuing to call this our home.”
“It is frequently surprising to me that Matt has only been with us for one season,” remarked Cyclones Vice President and General Manager Kristin Ropp. “His impact was immediate and his work ethic, contagious. The front office feels more vested in our program than ever before, and solidifying Matt’s tenure with the Cyclones will transform the landscape of hockey in Cincinnati for the better.”
In his first season behind the Cyclones bench, Thomas guided the Cyclones to a League-best 51-13-5-3 record for 110 points, earning the team’s second-ever Brabham Cup as ECHL regular season champions, along with the team’s first division title since the 2012-13 season. The Cyclones achieved a 30-2-2-2 mark on home ice, tying an ECHL record for most home wins and fewest home losses, and also led the League with an average of 3.92 goals scored per game and goals against with 2.44. For his efforts in his first season behind the Cyclones bench, Thomas received the John Brophy Award, awarded annually to the ECHL Coach of the Year.
Thomas was also named head coach of the Western Conference All-Stars at this season’s CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic in Toledo. It was his third selection as an all-star head coach, previously earning the honor in 2005 with Atlantic City and 2009 with Stockton, which ties as League record for All-Star Games coached.
Following a successful regular season, Thomas guided Cincinnati to the second round of the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs, defeating the Kalamazoo Wings in six games in the Central Division Semifinals, before falling to the eventual Western Conference champion Toledo Walleye in five games in the Central Division Finals.
“Anytime you are surrounded by like-minded people, it’s special,” continued Thomas. “From ownership, front office, and our affiliates in Buffalo and Rochester, I look forward to growing on the success we had last year and working towards bringing the third championship to the Cyclones. It’s an exciting challenge that lies ahead.”
A native of Toronto, ON, Thomas is entering his 13th season as an ECHL coach, standing behind benches as an assistant and head coach for the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons, and Stockton Thunder from 2002-2013, in addition to this season with the Cyclones. Thomas served two seasons as an assistant coach with Atlantic City, including helping the Boardwalk Bullies to a Kelly Cup Championship in 2003, before assuming the role of head coach and Director of Hockey Operations with the team prior to 2004-2005. He compiled a 42-22-8 mark in his lone season as Atlantic City’s bench boss and served as the head coach for the 2005 ECHL All-Star Game.
He then moved on to Fresno prior to the 2005-06 campaign, leading the Falcons to a 43-15-14 mark along with a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Over the next two seasons in Fresno, Thomas compiled a 76-41-17 record, with trips to the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs on both occasions. He coached the Falcons during the first half of 2008-09, leading the team to an 18-10-2 mark before the team ceased operations midseason.
Thomas was not out of work for long, however, as he was named head coach of Stockton shortly after and finished the year with a record of 22-16-3, and a trip to the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Thomas went on to coach the Thunder for four more seasons, amassing a mark of 141-111-36, reaching the post season each year, including a trip to the 2013 Kelly Cup Finals.
He has a career record of 393-238-88 and stands as the seventh-winningest coach all-time in ECHL history. He is also eighth in League history with 719 regular season games coached overall. Additionally, Thomas stands as the all-time leader in playoff games coached with 108, and ranks second with 49 playoff wins- just one behind all-time leader John Brophy.
“His passion for teaching the game at every level and his approachability from fans and youth hockey parents alike puts him in a different echelon than anyone I’ve worked with,” continued Ropp. “Our program is better because of him.”
The 2018-19 season has come to an end and the Brabham Cup champion Cincinnati Cyclones want to thank you for coming along for the ride with us! Our sights now turn to FIRST FACE-OFF which is set for Saturday, October 12, against the Wheeling Nailers, and we invite YOU to stay tuned all off-season for updates on important events, player signings, promotion and ticketing information, and MORE! Call (513) 421-PUCK for tickets and more information, and stay on top of all the latest team updates and information on Facebook, Twitter (@CincyCyclones), and Instagram, along with our website, www.cycloneshockey.com!