CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Cincinnati Cyclones, proud affiliate of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators, announced today that they have named 35-year-old Ben Simon the seventh Head Coach in club history.
Simon, a 1997 fifth-round pick (110th overall) of the Chicago Blackhawks, comes to the Queen City after spending the last two seasons as the Assistant Coach of the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League (AHL). Prior to joining the IceHogs, Simon served as both a player and Head Coach for the Sheffield Steelers of the United Kingdom’s Elite Ice Hockey League, guiding the club to the 2010-11 EIHL title and finishing that season with 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists) in 62 games. During his 11-year playing career, Simon logged a total of 770 professional contests in the International Hockey League (IHL), ECHL, AHL, NHL, and overseas. Simon notched four points (3 goals, 1 assist) and 47 penalty minutes in 81 career NHL regular-season tilts over parts of four seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers (2001-04) and Columbus Blue Jackets (2004-05). Upon his retirement after the 2010-11 campaign, he had accumulated 306 career points (125 goals, 181 assists) during regular season play and another 28 tallies (14 goals, 14 assists) in postseason action.
“I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity to coach the Cincinnati Cyclones,” said Simon. “I am thrilled to be joining an organization that is not only committed to winning hockey games, but one that is also committed to the Cincinnati community. It is an honor to become a part of this organization and I look forward to working with the great staff that is already in place. I would like to thank Ray Harris and Kristin Ropp for this opportunity and I cannot wait for the season to start!”
A Notre Dame Fighting Irish alumnus, Simon was a part of three championship teams during his professional career; in addition to his EIHL accolades from 2010-11, he, along with former Cyclones Head Coaches Jarrod Skalde and Chuck Weber, helped lead the Orlando Solar Bears to the 2001 Turner Cup title. A year later, in 2002, he was a member of the Chicago Wolves when they captured the Calder Cup championship.
“We are thrilled to have Ben join us in Cincinnati,” said Cyclones President Ray Harris. “He has demonstrated throughout his playing and coaching career that he can motivate and improve the players around him. I’m confident he’ll continue to guide and develop our group while maintaining our tradition of success.”
Simon and his wife, Beth, have two daughters – nine-year old Meg and six-year old Kate. He is the first-ever Ohio native to lead the Cyclones behind the bench.
The countdown to the 2013 First Face-Off is officially on! The Cyclones open the season at U.S. Bank Arena against the Wheeling Nailers on Saturday, October 19 at 7:30pm. The game will be preceded by the Power Play 5K Run/Walk to benefit Pink Ribbon Girls! For details or to register, visit CyclonesHockey.com/5k. Season ticket packages are also on sale now! Call 513.421.PUCK or visit CyclonesHockey.com to secure your seats. Fans can also get the latest team updates throughout the offseason on Facebook and Twitter (@CincyCyclones).