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Amerks Introduce New Head Coach

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By Warren Kozireski —

The Rochester Americans introduced their 34th head coach Monday morning in former Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) General Manager and Head Coach Michael Leone (pronounced Lee-own-nee).

“I’m extremely grateful and humbled to be a part of the Buffalo Sabres organization as the next head coach of the Rochester Americans,” Leone said. “I want to thank Kevyn Adams and Jason Karmanos for giving me the opportunity to lead the organization and believing in me. I look forward to meeting everyone in the organization and helping our prospects continue to grow and develop on and off the ice.”

This marks Leone’s first head coaching stint in the American Hockey League. Before his two seasons with Green Bay, much like prior head coach Seth Appert, he had a three-year run as an assistant coach at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP), as well as brief stints at both the collegiate and professional levels.

Leone had a 66-41-10-7 record in his two seasons with Green Bay, leading the Gamblers to back-to-back 30-plus win seasons as well as consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in over a decade.

Leone played three years for the Western Michigan University before embarking on a four-year professional career in the ECHL split between the Kalamazoo Wings (2012-13) and Toledo Walleye (2014-17), along with one season overseas with Villard-de-Lans in France.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to get it, but it happened and I’m very grateful and I’m excited,” Leone said, who was expecting his first child any day now. “A lot of mixed emotions but I’m really excited for this next journey of my coaching career.”

“I am thrilled to welcome Mike to our organization and look forward to working with him as we continue to build a foundation of success in Rochester,” Amerks General Manager Jason Karmanos said. “Throughout the interview process, Mike differentiated himself from other candidates with his development background, inherent feel for the game, and growth mindset. I am confident in Mike’s leadership and ability to guide our players both on and off the ice, while continuing a culture in which players are proud to wear the Amerks sweater.”

(Photo provided by USA Hockey)