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Wolves bench boss headed to the Arizona Coyotes

Search is on to replace Cory Stillman, who accepted a position as assistant coach in NHL
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Sudbury Wolves head coach Cory Stillman has been named assistant coach with the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes. (Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Sudbury Wolves head coach Cory Stillman has been named assistant coach with the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes.  

The Wolves thanked Stillman for his dedication, passion and commitment in a news release. 

“Cory and our entire coaching staff have always believed in our vision and our values as an organization,”said Wolves vice-president and general manager Rob Papineau. “We believed when we hired him that he would come here and help build the culture that our program wanted to establish in the new era. Cory knows what it takes to be a professional and he was able to instill that in our dressing room with our  players. Our players learned under Cory what it meant to work hard and compete hard in practice and  games.”

Stillman coached the Wolves for the past three seasons, from 2017 to 2020 before the most recent season was cut short due to the pandemic. The Wolves provided Stillman his first opportunity to be a head coach as he came to Sudbury from the Carolina Hurricanes, where he served as the director of player development for five seasons. 

With his players, he was fully committed to sharing the knowledge he picked up as both a two-time Stanley Cup champion and as a teacher in his role in player development. During his time in Sudbury, Stillman had a record of 199 games coached, accumulating a record of 94  wins, 89 losses and 16 overtime losses for a 0.512 winning percentage. 

In the 2018-19 season, the team reached the second round of the playoffs with a regular-season record of 43-20-3-2, helped along by talented goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and the arrival of Quinton  Byfield.

Those 43 victories were the most since the 1994-95 season and helped Stillman finish as a finalist  for the Matt Leyden Trophy as coach of the year. 

This past season, Stillman led the Wolves to the Emms Trophy as Central Division champion for the first time since 2001.  

“I want to thank Dario Zulich, Scott Lund, Rob Papineau, and Ken MacKenzie for giving me an opportunity to start my professional coaching career in Sudbury,” said Stillman. “My first year in Sudbury, we were able to accomplish a lot of things both on and off the ice that created a culture within the Sudbury Wolves hockey team that I am very proud of. 

“As a staff, we were able to build off that first year and improve as a club every year. I want to thank Darryl Moxam, Jordan Smith, Bud Stefanski, Zack Stortini and Dan Buckland for their dedication and commitment to me, and to the players that they worked with every day during the season. The Sudbury Wolves have a great program in the OHL and are a great place for both players and coaches to develop. I enjoyed my time in Sudbury, learned a lot along the way, and now look forward to a new beginning with the Arizona Coyotes.” 

The search for a new head coach now begins as the organization looks to continue to build upon the  strong program it has built under the team’s ownership and management. 

The OHL continues to plan for a Feb. 4 return to play. Wolves fans can read more about the  updated Return to Play plan by visiting, https://sudburywolves.com/article/the-wolves-announce update-return-to-play-faqs.