BY RYAN ABER
The Edmonton Journal reported today that Todd Nelson would be named the head coach of the Oklahoma City Barons on Thursday.
The team will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. at the Cox Center to introduce their coach and assistant coach.
Nelson served as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers for the last two seasons before being fired following the season.
He interviewed for the head coaching job with the Edmonton Oil Kings, the junior hockey team in Edmonton that is owned by the same group that owns the Edmonton Oilers.
The Barons, who will begin their inaugural season in the American Hockey League on Oct. 9, are Edmonton’s affiliate.
Prior to joining the Thrashers, Nelson was an assistant coach with the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves. The Thrashers’ AHL affiliate won the Calder Cup in 2008 when Nelson was on the staff.
He last served as a head coach in 2006, when he finished a three-year run with the United Hockey League’s Muskegon Fury. The Fury won UHL championships in 2004 and 2005 under Nelson.
Nelson is a native of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 1989 draft, eventually playing in three NHL games with Pittsburgh and Washington.
He was on Portland’s 1994 Calder Cup-winning team and was inducted into the team’s hall of fame in 2007.
Gerry Fleming is expected to remain as a Barons assistant. Fleming served as an assistant coach last season with Springfield, the Oilers former AHL affiliate, under Rob Daum.
Daum was told last month that he would not be retained.