Ex-Leaf falls into AHL skipper's post with Springfield Falcons
Former Nelson Leafs star Brad Larsen was recently named head coach of the Springfield Falcons, Columbus’s American Hockey League affiliate.
“We are very pleased to announce Brad Larsen as the head coach of the Springfield Falcons and are excited to have him working with our prospects in the American Hockey League,” said Blue Jackets Assistant General Manager Chris MacFarland, who oversees Springfield’s hockey operations for Columbus.
“He has a tremendous amount of passion for coaching and the game of hockey and will bring great energy to the rink every day.”
Old-time Leaf fans will remember Larsen as a rugged left-winger who played for the Heritage City franchise under the guidance of co-coaches Rob Wright and Ed Cooper.
Larsen helped guide Nelson to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League title in 1992 as the Leafs knocked off the Spokane Braves in six games.
Larsen, 34, joined the AHL Falcons as an assistant coach prior to the start of the 2010-11 season after concluding a 13-year playing career in 2009-10 with the AHL’s Portland Pirates.
He appeared in 294 career NHL games from 1997-2009, registering 19 goals and 29 assists for 48 points and 134 penalty minutes with the Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers.
He added 1-3-4 and 13 penalty minutes in 25 Stanley Cup Playoff games, helping the Avalanche reach the 2002 Western Conference Final. Colorado’s fourth pick, 87th overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the first seven seasons of his pro career in the Colorado organization before joining Atlanta midway through the 2003-04 season.
The native of Nakusp played in 384 career AHL games totaling 96-121-217, 475 penalty minutes and a +14 cumulative plus/minus rating with the Hershey Bears, Chicago Wolves and Portland.
He added 15-15-30 and 73 penalty minutes in 62 career AHL playoff games and helped lead Chicago to the 2005 Calder Cup Final with 11 points in 18 postseason games.
Prior to starting his pro career and after his one year in Junior B with Nelson, he played his junior hockey with the Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos from 1993-1997.
In 238 career WHL games, he notched 249 points and was named to the 1997 WHL East All-Star Team.
—With files from Springfield Falcons website