Des Moines, IA (NNCNOW.com) --- Grand Rapids, Minn. native Kurt Kleinendorst was officially introduced on Monday as the first-ever head coach of the Iowa Wild, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the NHL's Minnesota Wild.
“We are proud to have Kurt Kleinendorst as the first head coach in team history,” said Jim Mill, Iowa's general manager. “He was part of a Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2003. He has a Calder Cup, a gold medal and a proven track record of developing young players for the National Hockey League. He also understands what the Minnesota Wild need from a development standpoint. I have known him for 24 years. Not only is he a good coach, but Kurt is equally a good person, which makes him the right choice to lead our team on and off the ice.”
Kleinendorst comes to Iowa after spending last season coaching Alabama-Huntsville in the NCAA, but he does have five years experience coaching in the AHL.
His most recent professional experience came with Binghamton of the AHL from 2010-12, posting a (71-70-5) record over two seasons and helping the team win a Calder Cup in 2011.
The 52-year-old also has head coaching experience on the international level, having led the United States Under-18 team to a gold medal at the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) world championships.
The AHL team will play its first in Des Moines, Iowa in 2013-14 after announcing a move this past spring from its former home in Houston, Texas.