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Gulls to introduce new coach Matt McIlvane

New San Diego Gulls coach Matt McIlvane coaches his former EC Red Bull Salzburg players in this undated photo.
Courtesy of San Diego Gulls
New San Diego Gulls coach Matt McIlvane coaches his former EC Red Bull Salzburg players in this undated photo.

Matt McIlvane will get his first opportunity to publicly explain how he will convert his coaching success in Europe to developing players for the Anaheim Ducks when he is introduced Wednesday as coach of the San Diego Gulls, their American Hockey League affiliate.

McIlvane's hiring to succeed Roy Sommer was announced April 25. Sommer announced his retirement after one season as Gulls coach on April 15, the day of their final game of the season.

McIlvane won five league championships as a coach and assistant coach in Europe over the past 10 seasons.

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"Matt brings a winning pedigree to our organization in addition to a strong culture of development and performance," Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek said in a statement April 25. "Our players in San Diego will benefit from his leadership, philosophy, and his championship experience in Europe and the international level."

McIlvane spent the past four seasons coaching EC Red Bull Salzburg of the ICE Hockey League, the top-tier league in Austria, which also includes teams from Hungary, Italy and Slovenia.

McIlvane led Salzburg to back-to-back league championship in the 2021- 22 and 2022-23 seasons, and also won an ICE Hockey League title as assistant coach with Salzburg in 2013-14. He was the youngest head coach in the history of the team founded in 1977 when he was hired at age 33 in 2019.

McIlvane had a regular-season record of 94-42-22-19 for a .650 points percentage, and a 31-8 mark in the postseason, .795%.

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"I am humbled to be the next coach of the San Diego Gulls," McIlvane said in a statement. "I am incredibly grateful to Pat Verbeek for the trust to take on this responsibility. We are ready for the challenge to develop Ducks prospects into NHL players and give the fans at Pechanga Arena San Diego an exciting team to cheer for."

McIlvane will be the Gulls' fourth coach in four seasons and fifth since the American Hockey League team moved to San Diego in 2015.

McIlvane began his coaching career in the 2011-12 season as coach and general manager of the Danville (Illinois) Dashers of the Federal Hockey League. The Naperville, Illinois native was then an assistant coach with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL in the 2012-13 season.

McIlvane coached for EHC Red Bull München in Germany's Deutsche Eishockey Liga from 2014-19, serving as an assistant coach from 2014-18 and associate coach for the 2018-19 season.

McIlvane was an assistant coach with Germany's silver medal-winning team in the 2018 Winter Olympics and with its team at the 2021 IIHF World Championship when it finished fourth.

McIlvane's professional playing career consisted of 62 games in the International Hockey League, 15 in the AHL, 14 in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, seven in the Central Hockey League and two in the ECHL from 2008-12 with 16 goals and 22 assists.

McIlvane had 15 goals and 37 assists in 156 games for Ohio State from 2004-08 and was the Buckeyes' captain as a senior in the 2007-08 season.