News 03.06.2013

Bears enter premiere KHL season with Mark French as headcoach!

In 2009/2010 French was given the position of head coach, which he crowned by winning the Calder Cup.

Mark French is KHL Medveščak Zagreb’s new coach! This will be the forty-two-year-old Canadian with many years of coaching experience’s premiere season both outside of North America and in the KHL.
”Mark French is a coach that I’ve been watching for the past two years and we hoped that the moment would come when he would decide to continue his career in Europe so that we could organize this for him. Mark is a young coach who brings modern hockey to the rink, discipline, and respect toward his players and club. Throughout his six years with the Hershey Bears - affiliates of the NHL’s Washington Capitals - he not only won the Calder Cup, but also broke the club’s records by winning 60 games in one season. I am convinced that Mark is exactly the type of coach that Medveščak needs in its premiere season in the KHL”, said the director of hockey operations and advisor to the clubs president Markoantonio Belinić.
”Mark spent his entire AHL coaching career with Hershey, and he secured the playoffs every season, and won the Calder Cup once. Mark still holds the AHL’s record for being the fastest coach to achieve 100 wins. He’s going to bring a winning pedigree to Zagreb and he’s extremely happy to be able to help Medveščak become a successful KHL team”, stated Medveščak’s athletics director Aaron Fox.
From the middle of the 2007/2008 season, Mark French was the coach of the AHL’s most decorated team, the Hershey Bears (11 titles). In his first season with the Hershey Bears and the AHL he worked as an assistant coach, while in 2009/2010 he was given the position of head coach, which he immediately crowned by winning the Calder Cup and with record stats. He got the record for the most amount of wins in one season, winning 60 out of 80 games, and scored the record for the highest amount of points, 123, which no coach prior to French has achieved. That season the Bears were unbeatable on home ice from the end of November 2009 until mid-March 2010, winning 24 games in a row, while in total they won 34 home games, which was another AHL record. On away ice they won 26 games, which was another record for the Bears, just like their record of wining 12 away games in a row. On top of all of those records, that season the Bears were also the first team in the AHL’s history to win a championship after losing the first two games of the finals, and were also the team that won a record 8 games in overtime in the Calder Cup playoffs. That was a spectacular season for the Bears, and the greatest debut of a head coach in the AHL’s 75-year history. For the next three seasons, the Bears played the conference quarterfinals under French’s helm.
Before his AHL career, he worked for Brock University (as the assistant and head coach), University of Guelph (assistant coach), Wilfrid Laurier University (head coach), for the OHL’s North Bay Centennials (assistant coach and assistant to the general manager), for the ECHL’s Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (assistant coach), and the CHL’s Wichita Thunder (head coach and director of hockey operations).