Two former members of the Washington Capitals organization’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, have been named to coaching positions this month. Both Scott Gomez (New York Islanders) and Patrick Wellar (Reading Royals) have been named assistant coaches, roles that they seemed to show an adeptness for while wearing Hershey jerseys.
Gomez, who joined the Bears for his first ever stint in the AHL just a year ago on a tryout agreement, brought a tremendous wealth of knowledge and skill to the Hershey locker room. His presence on the ice not only boosted the power play unit, which had been struggling, but also helped some of Hershey’s younger forwards learn from someone who had been in the NHL (and would ultimately go back).
Countless players, including Travis Boyd, noted often in interviews that they watched Gomez during games and practices to try and soak up all they could from how he played and what he saw. Gomez, while definitely able to help the Islanders PP, should also be able to impart some experience to New York’s forwards.
In his 16-year career, Gomez won two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils. In 1079 regular season games, he recorded 756 points, including 255 on the PP.
Like Gomez, Wellar also found a knack for coaching while playing for the Bears. In 2014, with then head coach Scott Haviland unable to coach due to a medical issue, Wellar handed in his skates for a spot behind the bench.
But he wasn’t ready to hang up the skates full time, playing the next two seasons in the ECHL before joining the coaching ranks this past season with the Cincinnati Cyclones. Wellar, whose name was floated around as a possible member of Troy Mann’s staff last season with Bryan Helmer moving to the position of VP, has now moved a bit closer to Hershey.
— Reading Royals (@RRoyalsHockey) June 13, 2017
Wellar played for the Royals during part of the 2012-2013 season when Reading was the organization’s ECHL affiliate. The tough-minded defenseman joins a club that had the league’s 8th best GA and qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Finally, passing along thoughts and well-wishes to a third former Bear, Bob McGill. McGill, a former Bears assistant coach, suffered a stroke. In a story from the Toronto Sun, McGill is said to be improving.
By Julie Beidler