NHL Teams

Buffalo Sabres Assistant Coaches and Coaching Staff 2023-24

By Dipak BK / 10 October 2023 05:05 AM

Source : twitter

Buffalo Sabres assistant coaches are Mike Bales, Jason Christie, Matt Ellis, and Marty Wilford. Head coach Don Granato leads the panel.

Don Granato and Mike Bales were hired by the Sabres on June 14, 2019. Granato was promoted to the role of interim head coach in March and the franchise made it official in June 2021.

Jason Christie, Matt Ellis, and Marty Wilford joined the Sabres team on July 19, 2021. Kevyn Adams has been serving as the GM since June 2020. 

The Sabres began playing in the NHL in the 1970/71 season along with the Vancouver Canucks. They have won 3 Conference championships, 1 Presidents' trophy, and 6 Division championships. 

They have been playing their home games at the KeyBank Center since moving their home arena from the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in 1996. 

The Buffalo Sabres have made the Stanley Cup Finals twice in franchise history, their first one was in a 1975 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers, and the second was in 1999 when they lost to the Dallas Stars.

Buffalo Sabres Head Coach

Don Granato is the 20th head coach in the history of the Sabres franchise. He served as the assistant coach before his promotion in 2021.

On 17 March 2021, after starting the season with a record of 6-18-4, the then-head coach Ralph Kruger had a 12-game losing streak which was the last straw for the Sabres.

Granato who was the assistant at the time was tasked with leading the Sabres for the rest of the 2020/21 season as the interim head coach. He coached the Sabres for 28 games leading to a 9-16-3 record and the team made it official on June 29, 2021.

Don joined the Sabres in 2019 after spending the previous 2 seasons in the assistant role for the Chicago Blackhawks. He served as the USA Hockey National Team Development Program's head coach from 2013 to 2016.

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Granato began coaching in the USHL in 1993 before he was hired by the Colombus Chill of the ECHL in 1997. He left Colombus to coach the Peoria Rivermen in 1999 leading the Rivermen to the 2000 Kelly Cup Championships.

The eminent success led him to be promoted to be the Head Coach of the Rivermen's AHL affiliates, the Worcester IceCats spending 5 seasons with them and winning the 2000/01 A. R. Pieri Memorial Award

After seeing his success in the American Hockey League (AHL), the IceCats NHL affiliate St. Louis Blues hired him as the assistant coach in 2005. 

Since his promotion as the bench boss of the Sabres, Granato has coached 192 games in the NHL to record 83 W, 88 L, and 21 T/OTL. In his years as the Head Coach of the Worcester IceCats and the Chicago Wolves, he compiled a record of 237-183-44-22. 

Buffalo Sabres Coaching Staff

The Sabres coaching staff includes Head Coach Don Granato, assistant coaches Mike Bales, Jason Christie, Matt Ellis, Marty Wilford, and more.

Justin White who joined the organization as the video coordinator for the Sabers in 2021 has been tasked with the role of Video Coach. Matt Smith has taken over for White as the Video Coordinator.

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Dan Girardi is the Assistant to the NHL coaching staff for the Sabres. Adam Mair is the Director of Player Development with Tim Kennedy as the Development coach and Seamus Kotyk as the Goaltending Development Coach.

A full list of the Buffalo Sabres coaching panel and the player development team is stated below. 

Coaching StaffDesignation
Head CoachDon Granato
Assistant CoachesMike Bales, Jason Christie, Matt Ellis & Marty Wilford
Video CoachJustin White
Video CoordinatorMatt Smith
Assistant to the NHL coaching staffDan Girardi
Player Development teamNames
Director of Player DevelopmentAdam Mair
Development CoachTim Kennedy
Goaltending Development CoachSeamus Kotyk

Mike Bales

Mike Bales joined the Sabres bench in 2019 as the assistant coach. He worked as the goaltending coach for the Carolina Hurricanes from 2017-19 and the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2013-17.

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Bales retired as a player in 2011 and began his coaching stint as the goalie development coach for the Penguins before his promotion in 2013.

Jason Christie

Jason Christie was the head coach and vice president of Hockey operations for the Jacksonville Icemen before he joined the Sabres in 2021.

Christie has experience coaching in the ECHL and CHL. He was named the 2010/11 CHL Coach of the Year with the Bloomington PraireThunder.

At the time of his promotion, Jason left the ECHL holding the record for the most regular season wins at 667 in 17 seasons with 5 ECHL teams. 

Matt Ellis

Matt Ellis has played 10 seasons in the National Hockey League during his playing days as a left winger and 7 of them were with the Sabres. 

Likewise, Ellis played one season for the Los Angeles Kings and 2 for the Detroit Red Wings who signed him as a free agent in 2002. 

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Named the youngest captain in the Grand Rapids Griffins history, he played for 4 seasons for them before making his NHL debut on 18 December 2006 with the Red Wings. 

After retiring as a player in 2016 he joined the Academy of Hockey program at the LECOM Harborcenter, joining the Sabres in 2020 as the director of player development, and was promoted to assistant coach on July 29, 2021. 

Marty Wilford

Marty Wilford was hired as the assistant for the Sabres on July 29, 2021. He served in the same role for the Anaheim Ducks from 2018 to 2021.

Drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1995 in the 6th round as the 149th overall pick, Wilford spent 9 seasons of his playing career in the AHL. He also played in the IHL, OHL, DEL, ECHL, and played in Italy before his retirement. 

Wilford began his coaching career in 2011 as the assistant coach for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL where he spent a season. Then, he spent 3 seasons with the Norfolk Admirals and 3 with the San Diego Gulls before his promotion to the NHL.  

Buffalo Sabres Coaches History

There have been 20 head coaches to date since the franchise's inception in 1970. Punch Imlach was the first head coach of the Sabres.

Former coaches Punch Imlach, Scotty Bowman, Marcel Pronovost, Roger Neilson, and Phil Housley have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

There have been 2 Jack Adams Award Winners in the Sabres history to win the award with the team so far. The first was won by Ted Nolan the 14th head coach of the Sabres when he led the team to the Northeast Division Championships in his second season(1996/97) with the team. 

The second Jack Adams winning coach is Lindy Ruff (2005/06), who replaced Nolan in 1997 and became the 15th Head Coach of the Sabres. Ruff is also the winningest coach in the franchise's history with a record of 571-432-162.

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Ruff led the team to their second Stanley Cup finals since 1975 in his second season with the team, they lost to the Dallas Stars. Floyd Smith was the first Sabres coach to lead them to their first Stanley Cup Finals in 1975 which they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

Ruff spent 16 seasons with the Sabres, the longest tenure in franchise history. he has made 8 playoff Appearances with 57 wins and 44 losses. He was also the last coach to take the Sabres to the playoffs in the last 12 seasons.

Below is the list of all the head coaches of the Sabres to date along with the terms they served as the Head Coach for the Sabres. 

Head Coach NameCoached years
Punch Imlach1970–1972
Joe Crozier1972–1974
Floyd Smith1974–1977
Marcel Pronovost1977–1978
Billy Inglis1978–1979
Scotty Bowman1979–1980, 1982–1985, 1986–1986
Roger Neilson1980–1981
Jimmy Roberts1981–1982
Jim Schoenfeld1985–1986
Craig Ramsay1986–1987
Ted Sator1987–1989
Rick Dudley1989–1991
John Muckler1991–1995
Ted Nolan1995–1997, 2013–2015
Lindy Ruff1997–2013
Ron Rolston2013–2013
Dan Bylsma2015–2017
Phil Housley2017–2019
Ralph Krueger2019–2021
Don Granato2021–present

Who is the GM of the Buffalo Sabres?

Kevyn Adams is the GM of the Buffalo Sabres. Jason Karmanos is the associate General Manager and Mark Jakuibowksi is the assistant GM.

Adams was promoted in his role as the GM of the Sabres in June 2020, the same day former GM Jason Botterill was relieved of his duties after 3 years with the team. He signed a multi-year contract extension with the team on September 20, 2022.

Boston Bruins drafted Adams in the 1st round (25th overall) in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. He has played in the NHL for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes, and the Chicago Blackhawks as well. 

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Adams played 4 years of college hockey for the Miami Redskins from 1992/93 to 1995/96 before beginning his professional career. He was inducted into the Miami University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.

Talking further about his commendations, Kevyn was the alternate captain for the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning run of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Following his retirement as a player in 2009, Adams joined the Sabres franchise as a player development coach. He was promoted to the position of assistant coach on August 3, 2011, and stayed in that role until May 9, 2013. 

He was with the Academy of Hockey at LECOM Harborcenter from 2013 and was promoted to be its GM in January 2019. In September 2019, Adam was promoted to the Vice president of business administration of the Sabres and as their GM in 2020.

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