The Minnesota Wild’s American Hockey League partner has named Kurt Kleinendorst as its new head coach, Iowa Wild general manager Jim Mill announced Monday afternoon.
He becomes the first head coach for the franchise after Minnesota announced it was transferring its AHL affiliate from the Houston Aeros to the Iowa Wild. Kleinendorst was previously the head coach at Alabama-Huntsville lastseason and served as an AHL head coach from 2010 to 2012 for the Binghamton Senators.
“We are proud to have Kurt Kleinendorst as the first head coach in team history,” Mill said. “He was part of a Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2003. He has a Calder Cup, a gold medal and a proven track record of developing young players for the National Hockey League.
“He also understands what the Minnesota Wild need from a development standpoint. I have known him for 24 years. Not only is he a good coach, but Kurt is equally a good person, which makes him the right choice to lead our team on and off the ice.”
Kleinendorst, 52, led Binghamton to a Calder Cup in 2011, posting a 71-70-15 record over two seasons. He also has experience in the USA Hockey development program, serving as head coach of the under-18 team in 2010, leading them to a Gold Medal in the World Championships in Belarus.
A native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Kleinendorst played professionally six years in the NHL and two years in Europe. He also spent nine seasons with the New Jersey Devils serving in various capacities from scout to head coach of the AHL Devils.
The Iowa Wild will begin play in the AHL in October.