It took the Kingston Frontenacs less than two weeks to fill their vacant head coach position. And it will be a familiar face manning the bench in Kingston when the next Ontario Hockey League season begins.
The Frontenacs have brought back Paul McFarland to be their head coach. McFarland replaces Kurtis Foster, who was fired on April 29 after two seasons on the job and an overall record of 33-91-6.
The 34-year old McFarland has spent the past three seasons in the National Hockey League as an assistant coach — two with the Florida Panthers and the 2019-2020 campaign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
McFarland coached the Frontenacs from 2014-2015 through 2016-2017 and posted a record of 111-71-22 in 204 regular season games. With McFarland at the helm, Kingston made the playoffs all three seasons and advanced to the second round in both 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.
Without question, McFarland has been placed in a desirable position as he inherits a young Kingston crew that is full of potential and includes phenom Shane Wright, the exceptional status, no. 1 draft pick from 2019 who led the Frontenacs in scoring in 2019-2020 as a 15-year old rookie.
“Obviously there is a lot of young, talented players and a team that’s growing and continuing to build around their young core,” McFarland said of the Frontenacs.
“It’s an exciting group to have a chance to work with but obviously we have a lot of work to do as well to bring a championship to Kingston. If I didn’t believe that was possible, I wouldn’t be coming back,” McFarland told Postmedia.
All in all, McFarland acknowledged the situation that he is headed to in Kingston.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity from (Frontenacs owner) Doug Springer and to get a chance to work with (general manager) Darren Keily, who I have a lot of respect for … so I couldn’t be coming into a better situation in junior hockey for me, personally,” McFarland relayed.
From a front office standpoint, the Frontenacs also have the luxury of having the reputable Jeff Twohey on hand as an advisor to aforementioned general manager Darren Keily.
The 60-year old Twohey has more than 600 regular seasons wins as an OHL GM with both the Peterborough Petes and Oshawa Generals. He also spent four seasons as assistant director of amateur scouting for the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League before joining Kingston prior to the 2019-2020 campaign as an advisor to his long-time friend Keily.
PHOTO: Paul McFarland, from his previous gig as head coach of the Kingston Frontenacs.