The Hershey Bears announced on Monday the hiring of Mike Eastwood as their new assistant coach. He joins new head coach Spencer Carbery, assistant coach Patrick Wellar, and Alex Westlund to round out the coaching team.
Eastwood was with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League for three seasons and became their assistant coach in the 2014/15 season. In the announcement, the Bears touted his ability to develop players in Ottawa, something that Hershey has a great reputation for doing with Capitals players. He should prove to be a good addition to the team.
Bryan Helmer, vice president of hockey operations in the press release said: “We’re excited to welcome Mike Eastwood to Hershey, as we finalize our new coaching staff, Mike provides an element that we feel will be a great asset to our young players. He did a great job in his coaching stint in the Ontario Hockey League, and he can draw from his vast playing experience in the NHL to help grow and develop our team as we chase a championship”
Here is the remainder of the press release:
Eastwood, 51, spent three seasons with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League, serving as an assistant coach in 2014-15 before being promoted to associate coach. In each of Eastwood’s three years in Ottawa, the club qualified for the playoffs. With the 67’s, Eastwood played a pivotal role in developing prospects, including current Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny, and Kody Clark, a 2018 second round draft selection of Washington.
The Ottawa, Ontario native played 13 seasons in the NHL from 1991-2004, scoring 236 points (87 goals, 149 assists) in 783 career games with Toronto, Winnipeg, Phoenix, the New York Rangers, St. Louis, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. He also skated in 97 career playoff games, scoring 19 points.
The responsible, two-way center was known for his craft on faceoffs, and enjoyed his best season in 1999-2000 with St. Louis, a year in which he helped the Blues win the President’s Trophy as the team that finished with the most regular season points in the NHL. That season, Eastwood collected a career-high 34 points (19 goals, 15 assists) in 79 games, on a Blues team that also featured both Helmer, as well as Todd Reirden, the new head coach of the Capitals, on the blue line.
A star player at Western Michigan University, Eastwood was originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 5th round in 1987. He spent two seasons with Toronto’s American Hockey League affiliate, the St. John’s Maple Leafs, including the 1992-93 campaign that saw Eastwood finish with 59 points.
Photo from the Ottawa Citizen.