Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rangers hire Mendelson as head coach

The Marquette Rangers entered the NAHL two weeks ago and today have a head coach.

Leigh Mendelson, currently an assistant coach with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers, has accepted the position as Marquette's first bench boss.

“The Marquette Rangers are very pleased and excited to welcome Leigh as its head coach,” said Rangers' GM David Saint-Onge. “Since the announcement of our membership in the NAHL, we have been blessed with the opportunity to review and talk to over 30 great coaching candidates. Unfortunately we had to pick one and, fortunately for us, Leigh Mendelson wanted to coach the Marquette Rangers.”

Mendelson expressed his thoughts on his new position.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to develop the Marquette Rangers team from scratch,” Mendelson said. “We will play an honest style of hockey, exemplified by hard work and discipline. Players who choose to play here will find Marquette provides the perfect opportunity to advance their careers.”

Mendelson's primary responsibilities with the Gamblers included player recruitment and development, scouting, game preparation, special teams instruction, and practice planning and execution. He has helped lead the team to its current third place standing in the North Division, fifth place overall in the league.

Prior to joining Green Bay, Mendelson was an assistant coach of Pelicans Lahti – a team in Finland’s highest professional league. Prior to that, he had stints with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the East Coast Hockey League in 2001-02 and again in 2003, the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in 2002-03 and six years as an assistant coach in the USHL with Omaha, Sioux City and Waterloo.

Mendelson was the associate head coach of the Omaha Lancers when they won the 2001 Clark Cup and the 2001 USA Hockey Junior A national championship. He was also an assistant with Atlantic City when it won the ECHL championship in 2003. He has helped produce over 100 NCAA Division I hockey players and over 40 NHL Draft picks in his coaching career.

“We are very happy to see the Marquette Rangers moving so quickly to assemble their organization, and it shows why the league was so enthused about this ownership group and this market, " said NAHL president and commissioner Michael Santos. "We have many excellent coaches in the NAHL who have done an outstanding job developing talent and sending them to the next level and we welcome Marquette's new coach to our league's coaching fraternity."

The Rangers have also announced their tentative tryout schedule and season ticket sign-up program.

“We continue to implement our business model in a concise and expeditious manner," Saint-Onge continued. "We’ll have our team and organization ready for play this September and hope to quickly become the team others emulate."

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