Amarillo, TX 5/14/08 – After sorting through contract issues that arose late last night, the Amarillo Gorillas officially announced today the hiring of Tom Coolen as the new Head Coach of the organization. New team owner Randy Sanders had this to say when asked about the temporary stall in negotiations with Coolen –
“Well our first shot hit the cross-bar and bounced out, but we were able to re-gain the puck and put it in the back of the net,” Sanders joked.
Coolen brings to the Gorillas twenty years of head coaching experience at various levels including stints at the top collegiate level, the highest tiers of Canadian junior hockey, and professional hockey in North America as well as in Europe. Mr. Coolen has also served in the role of League Commissioner for the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) during the 2004-05 season.
Coolen started his coaching career at Acadia University (CIAU) where he guided the Axemen to two Canadian National Championships during his ten year stint there. During both championship seasons in 1993 and 1995, Coolen was named the Canadian University Coach of the Year. In his final season at
Coolen spent two seasons in Germany from 1996-98, coaching the Kaufbeuren Eagles before returning to North America to coach a former foe of the Amarillo Rattlers. During the 1997-98 season, Coolen took the helm of the Waco Wizards of the Western Professional Hockey League, guiding
Following his one year run with
Coolen has spent the last five seasons coaching overseas in Europe in the Finnish Elite League, German Elite League, Austrian Elite League and the Denmark Elite League, and comes to the Gorillas looking to put a winning product on the ice as well as establishing a presence in the Amarillo community. Coolen has already begun putting together a tentative recruiting list, and will be coming to Amarillo very soon to begin assembling the 2008-09 version of the Amarillo Gorillas.