Veteran bench boss Darren Rumble has joined the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League as an assistant coach for the balance of the 2018-2019 season.
Rumble brings high-level experience to the coaching staff in Saginaw where the Spirit is in a torrid four-team battle with the London Knights, Soo Greyhounds and Guelph Storm in the hotly-contested, 10-member Western Conference of the OHL.
A former star defenseman in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers who became a first-round National Hockey League draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, the 49-year old Rumble brings extensive coaching depth to Saginaw.
He was recently let go by the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Jr. Hockey League despite a winning record this season. In all, Rumble spent parts of six seasons as the head coach in Moncton and led the Wildcats into the third round of the playoffs twice.
Rumble fills a vacancy on the Saginaw coaching staff that occurred when Troy Smith was fired 22 games into this season and replaced by Spirit associate coach Chris Lazary. Lazary and assistant coach Ryan Kuwabara had formed a two-man bench tandem since the mid November firing of Smith.
Saginaw general manager Dave Drinkill told Hockey News North that both Lazary and Kuwabara gave their thumbs up on the addition of the experienced Rumble to the Spirit coaching staff.
“Both Chris and Ryan said that any one who can benefit us and try to help us win is a welcome addition to our team,” Drinkill added. “Darren’s experience is a big asset for us as we look ahead to the rest of the season.”
Drinkill said the addition of Rumble “makes a lot of sense.
“Darren brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our staff after coaching for many years in different roles,” Drinkill relayed. “Chris and Ryan have done a fantastic job since the coaching change and we always said if the right person came along we would look to bring them onto the staff for the rest of the season.”
Besides coaching in the QMJHL with Moncton, Rumble also spent time on the bench with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League and in the minor pro, American Hockey League ranks.
As a player, besides his three seasons in the OHL with Kitchener, he skated for 16 years as a pro.
In addition to 614 games in the AHL, 138 more in the erstwhile International Hockey League and parts of a season overseas in Germany, Rumble played in 193 contests in the NHL, suiting up for Philadelphia as well as the Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues and the 2004 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
PHOTO: Darren Rumble adds coaching experience to the Saginaw Spirit.