Matt Thomas Promoted to Providence Bruins in AHL
Cincinnati Cyclones Head Coach Matt Thomas has been named the Assistant Coach for the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL). Thomas departs the Cyclones after starting with the team three years ago prior to the 2018-2019 season. He will join Providence Head Coach, Ryan Mougenel, serving as the top affiliate to the NHL’s Boston Bruins.
The Cyclones will announce Thomas’ successor on Tuesday, August 31st.
“The opportunity to coach in Cincinnati has been very rewarding,” said Thomas. “The organization from top to bottom is second to none. Our fans make this a special place to play and coach and I can’t thank the players enough for their commitment to winning on a daily basis. I owe a debt of gratitude to Ray Harris and Kristin Ropp for their trust in me when they hired me in 2018. Although we only had one shot at a Kelly Cup, I know this team and staff are poised to do great things moving forward.”
“Matt Thomas has an unparalleled passion for the game of hockey that is contagious,” said Cyclones Vice President and General Manager Kristin Ropp. “He took our program with a rich history of success, both in winning championships and seeing players reach higher levels of competition, and made it even better. Matt’s dynamic personality bridged the gap between the traditional roles of hockey operations and the front office staff. Matt and his wife, Andrea worked tirelessly on creating a highly competitive youth hockey program for Cincinnati and their influence on youth hockey will be felt for years to come. What the Thomas family has created is a gift for our Cyclones Foundation to nurture and grow. Their departure from Cincinnati is bittersweet, but I wish Matt and his family nothing but happiness.”
Thomas, 45, helped the Cyclones reach the Kelly Cup Playoffs in 2019 while capturing the Brabham Cup; an award given to the team with the best regular season record. Individually, Matt was recognized in 2019 as the John Brophy ECHL Coach of the Year. Thomas had the club positioned for another postseason opportunity in the 2019-20 season before the ECHL cancelled the rest of its campaign due to the ongoing pandemic. During his two seasons in the Queen City, Matt coached the Cyclones to the tune of an 89-30-16 regular season record. In that time, the Cyclones saw several players called-up to the AHL, along with three goaltenders (Jonas Johansson, Michael Houser, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen) making their NHL debuts with the Cyclones parent club, the Buffalo Sabres.
The Cyclones introduced Thomas as the team’s fifth Head Coach in franchise history prior to the 2018-19 season after the Maple Ridge, British Columbia native spent the previous five years coaching Division I hockey at University of Alaska-Anchorage. Matt has coached five different ECHL teams over the course of 14 years in the league. In addition to his contributions for the ECHL-Cyclones, Thomas placed an emphasis on growing the footprint for the game of hockey in the Greater Cincinnati Area, donating his time to help expand two youth AA and AAA Jr. Cyclones teams. Though the Cyclones were absent from play during the ECHL’s 2020-21 season, Matt continued his efforts on growing youth hockey by expanding on his work with numerous summer camps and clinics that focus on player development. His additions also included the inception of Hybrid Hockey; a power skating and three-on-three program that focused on developing skills while having fun enjoying the sport.
“I’m extremely proud of the commitment our organization has made to youth hockey in the Greater Cincinnati Area,” continued Thomas. “The chance to connect our team with the youth hockey players is something we will continue to do as we strive to create more opportunities for kids in our community.”
Matt’s opportunity in Providence will be his first coaching position in the AHL.
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!