By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Don Nachbaur, who resigned Tuesday after one season as head coach of the AHL’s Binghamton Senators, is expected to be named the next head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.
Two sources told The Daily News on Tuesday that Nachbaur left Binghamton, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in order to become the Chiefs’ head coach.
"It is a difficult day for me as I step down as the head coach of the Binghamton Senators,” Nachbaur said in a statement. “This was not an easy decision for me, but it is based on personal reasons and I think it is the right choice for both myself and my family."
Nachbaur resigned last summer after five seasons as head coach of the Tri-City Americans and signed with Ottawa. Binghamton went 36-35-6-3 with Nachbaur at the helm, but didn’t make the playoffs.
Nachbaur was a fan-favourite in Tri-City as the Americans had unprecedented success with him as head coach. His run finished with back-to-back U.S. Division pennants.
The Chiefs and Americans have a tremendous rivalry that is about to get even hotter.
While Nachbaur moved to Binghamton, his family stayed in Richland, Wash. In fact, his son, Daniel, played for the bantam Spokane Jr. Chiefs, one of the teams that played in the 42nd annual KIBIHT.
With Spokane, Nachbaur will replace Hardy Sauter, who lost his job after last season when the club chose not to exercise an option.
The Chiefs were 45-22-3-2, good for fourth place in the Western Conference, but just two points out of first. They lost a first-round series in seven games to the Portland Winterhawks.
With the Edmonton Oil Kings having signed Derek Laxdal as head coach last week and the Chiefs about to introduce Nachbaur, it leaves the Kootenay Ice as the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams without a head coach.