First-year AHL head coach Ryan Mougenel will have a familiar voice on his staff this season, as the P-Bruins have added Matt Thomas to the Providence coaching staff as an assistant coach.
“We are very pleased to add Matt Thomas to our staff,” P-Bruins general manager John Ferguson Jr. said in a statement announcing the hire. “His 17 years of head coaching experience will complement the fine skills and attributes of Ryan Mougenel and Trent Whitfield. We look forward to seeing their growth as a staff as the next iteration in a long tradition of successful coaching staffs with the Providence Bruins.”
In the coaching game since 2000, when he served as an assistant coach at the University of Maine, the 45-year-old Thomas has spent the last three seasons as the head coach of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, with an 89-30-16 record from 2018 through 2020 before the Cyclones opted not to participate in the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thomas also won the John Brophy Award during the 2018-19 season, which is awarded annually to the ECHL’s top head coach.
The ECHL has really been the British Columbia native’s stomping grounds, too, as he’ll make the jump to the AHL with the ECHL record for most career playoff games coached (108) and second-most playoff victories (54).
But it’s the aforementioned familiarity with Mougenel that’s certainly worth noting, as Thomas not only coached Mougenel in Mougenel’s final season as a player with the ECHL’s Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies but later added Mougenel to his coaching staff during his four-season run as the head coach of the ECHL’s Fresno Falcons.
“Matt possesses a unique combination of high energy, innovation, and a proven eye for the game,” Mougenel said in a statement. “He understands today’s athlete and his focus on communication, teaching, and forming positive relationships speaks volumes about his values as a coach. Matt is a tremendous fit for our group and understands the Bruins’ philosophy and vision that Trent and I are growing. We are eager to work together and look forward to a seamless transition as we plan our collective approach for the upcoming season.”
The P-Bruins are coming off a 2020-21 season that came with a division-best 38-18-6 record (but no postseason format given the travel restrictions in place), and have totaled 121 wins in their last 214 games over the last three seasons.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.