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Derek Lalonde to be Walleye head coach

06/02/2014, 12:00am EDT
By MARK MONROE BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Team set to introduce former USHL bench boss

The Toledo Walleye will hire Derek Lalonde as the organization's next coach, The Blade has learned.

Lalonde will be named the team's head coach at a news conference today.

Lalonde was the coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League.

Lalonde, a native of Brasher Falls, N.Y., is in his third year with the Gamblers organization. The team plays in the USHL, a major junior league.

In his first season with Green Bay, Lalonde led the team to a league championship and was named the USHL coach of the year. His team also qualified for the playoffs the past two seasons.

Lalonde also has college coaching experience as an assistant in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and Western Conference Hockey Association. His job at Green Bay was his first head coaching position.

Lalonde replaces interim Walleye coach Dan Watson, who was named head coach in February when the team had a 16-31-3 record. Watson had served as an assistant under Nick Vitucci, the team's only coach in its first five seasons. Toledo went 5-13-4 under Watson to finish the year 21-44-7.

In his first season at Green Bay in 2011-12, Lalonde's team had a regular-season record of 47-9-4. The Gamblers set USHL records for wins in a season, fewest loses, and points in a season (98). The team never lost consecutive games throughout the regular season or playoffs.

In 2012-13, Lalonde led the Gamblers to a 37-23-4 record and a second-place finish. Last season Green Bay was 30-24-6. The Gamblers lost in the first round of the playoffs each of the last two seasons.

The USHL is an amateur hockey league with players who are all under the age of 20. The USHL is a feeder program for players to reach Division I college hockey.

Lalonde also coached USA Hockey's Junior Select team in the 2013 World Junior A Championships.

While he was an assistant coach at the University of Denver of the WCHA from 2006-11, Lalonde compiled a 122-63-19 record and helped lead the Pioneers to two league titles and four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

Lalonde began his coaching career as an assistant at Ferris State in Big Rapids, Mich., and was there for three seasons (2003-06).

The Walleye have qualified for the playoffs in two of their five seasons.

Contact Mark Monroe at: mmonroe@theblade.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.


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