Blues name OHL coach Bannister head coach of AHL’s Rampage

Under Drew Bannister, Sault Ste. Marie posted a 136-50-18 regular-season record the last three seasons.
Getty Images/Vaughn Ridley

Drew Bannister, who led Sault Ste. Marie to the best regular-season record in the Ontario Hockey League last season, has been named head coach of the St. Louis Blues‘ AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage.

“I’m incredibly appreciative of the opportunity that the Blues and Rampage have afforded me,” Bannister said. “… I look forward to instilling a winning culture in San Antonio as we continue to develop the young and talented players in the St. Louis system.”

Bannister, 44, coached Sault Ste. Marie the last three seasons, posting a 136-50-18 regular-season record. The Greyhounds set franchise records in both wins (55-7-6) and points (116) in 2017-18 before losing in six games to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the OHL Finals. Bannister was named the coach of the year in both the OHL and the Canadian Hockey League.

Bannister began his coaching career as an assistant for three seasons with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack.

“We are very excited to have Drew join our organization,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said. “He has proven himself over the past few seasons in the OHL and will be a perfect fit as we continue to develop our prospects through our affiliation with San Antonio.”

Bannister played for Tampa Bay, Edmonton, Anaheim and the New York Rangers in a six-year NHL career. He also played nine seasons overseas, retiring after the 2011-12 season.