Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Flint names Sims GM, Kerr head coach

The Flint Generals announced at a press conference today that Al Sims (above left) has been named the club’s vice president of hockey operations/general manager for the upcoming 2006-07 season and former Generals player Kevin Kerr (above right) is now the head coach of the team.

"I am excited about this opportunity to be a part of an organization with a strong hockey history," stated Sims. "I have always been a goal setter, and it is my goal to turn this club in a positive direction. In the coming weeks and months, the fans in Flint will notice something different."

Sims had a successful 15-year professional playing career that included 476 games in the NHL. He was the 47th pick overall in the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft by the Boston Bruins. The defenseman from Toronto, Ontario played parts of six seasons with Boston, including two as teammates with Hall of Fame defenseman Bobby Orr. He also played with the Hartford Whalers and Los Angeles Kings. Sims also had stints in the American Hockey League, International Hockey League and Europe.

Following his playing career, Sims became the head coach of the Fort Wayne Komets in the IHL. He led the team to the playoffs in four straight seasons, including a Turner Cup Championship in his final season with the club (1992-93). He spent the next three seasons as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks of the NHL (1993-96). Sims became the head coach of the San Jose Sharks during the 1996-97 season.

The next seven seasons were spent as the head coach for teams in the IHL, ECHL, and Central Hockey League. Most recently, he was an assistant with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins during the 2005-06 season.

Sims will oversee all aspects of the hockey operations for the Generals, in addition to the daily business of the organization.

"I have been involved with multiple areas of hockey at all levels of the game," said Sims. "My focus will now shift towards leading the Generals staff instead of coaching players. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty and will strive to bring a high level of professionalism to this organization. A big priority will be to have our players in the community. It is important to be visible and have the faces of the players around town. We plan to make a difference in Flint and let the fans know that we care about them."

Kerr is the eighth coach in the UHL history of the Generals. Last season, he led the North Bay Skyhawks of the North Ontario Junior Hockey League to a 30-18-0 record. The team also made a playoff run to the NOJHL Championship series in just the first season for Kerr as a head coach.

"This is a great opportunity for me to continue my coaching career," Kerr stated. "I feel like I had a great start in coaching last season in my hometown of North Bay, and now I get to come back to a city that I also consider to be my hometown. I want to be a part of a rebuilding process that will bring the Flint Generals back to the glory days we had in the 90's.

"I am also very fortunate to be able to work with Al Sims and will turn to him for his experience and knowledge. As a young coach, he will be a great asset to me and someone that I look forward to having as a mentor. I want to bring professionalism to this locker room and a strong work ethic. The team will be geared towards speed, working hard, and playing the game the way it is supposed to be played."

"Kevin has passion and emotion for the game of hockey," added Sims. "He played with his heart first. Some players don’t always bring it each night, but Kevin always brought all he had every game. He could change a game in his favor when he was on the ice. Fans will see that style of play this season with the Flint Generals. Kevin Kerr is the perfect guy for what we are trying to accomplish here in Flint."

Kerr played professionally for 18 years. He was a member of the Fort Wayne Komets in the IHL during the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons when the club was coached by Sims. He first played in the UHL for the Flint Generals during the 1993-94 season when he tallied 112 points (57g, 55a) and earned UHL Most Valuable Player honors. He would spend parts of eight seasons in Flint and was a member of the Flint Generals 1996 Colonial Cup campionship team. In the 1998-99 season, Kerr was a member of the Quad City Mallards when he scored his 500th career goal becoming only the tenth player in minor hockey league history to reach that mark.

His biggest moment came on Jan. 7, 2005, when, as a member of the Generals, he scored his 664th career goal and moved ahead of Scott Gruhl as the all-time leading goal scorer in minor league professional hockey history. He finished his career with 677 goals.

Kerr suited up for five UHL teams during his career; Flint (1993-98, 2000-01, 2003-2005), Quad City Mallards (1998-2000), Elmira Jackals (2002-03), Rockford IceHogs (2003), and Kalamazoo Wings (2005). He was selected to the postseason UHL All-Star Team on multiple occasions, including five times on the First Team (1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1999-2000) and once on the Second Team (1994-95). Kerr also played professionally in the AHL, ECHL, and West Coast Hockey League.

Kerr photo courtesy Rich Schultz


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