Tuesday afternoon the Hershey Bears announced that former Bears player Patrick Wellar would be returning to the organization as an assistant coach. Wellar will be replacing Reid Cashman, who was recently promoted to an assistant coach with the Capitals.
Wellar spent six seasons as a defenseman with the Bears from 2008-2014, helping the team win the Calder Cup in 2010. His first coaching job was during his time as a Bears player, filling in as an assistant coach when Mark Haviland, head coach at the time, could not attend a game due to a medical issue.
After leaving Hershey, Wellar spent time as a player/assistant coach with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies in 2014-15, and Alaska Aces in 2015-16. Upon retirement, he became a full-time assistant coach, first with the Cincinnati Cyclones, and then with the Reading Royals.
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The Hershey Bears announced today the hiring of Patrick Wellar as the club’s new assistant coach. The announcement was made by Hershey’s vice president of hockey operations Bryan Helmer, and Brian MacLellan, senior vice president and general manager of Hershey’s National Hockey League affiliate, the Washington Capitals.
“We are elated to welcome Patrick Wellar back to Hershey as an assistant coach,” said Helmer. “Patrick has a wealth of knowledge and a championship pedigree that will be a valuable asset to our young players as they grow and develop in the American Hockey League. From his lengthy tenure here, Patrick knows how special it is to wear the Chocolate and White. We are looking forward to Patrick bringing the passion he provided as a player in Hershey to his work behind the bench on Spencer Carbery’s staff.”
Wellar, 34, a four-time champion and veteran of nearly 750 professional games as a player, is well-known in Hershey. A former defender, Wellar was a stalwart on Hershey’s blue line in parts of six seasons with the Chocolate and White from 2008-2014. He was part of Hershey’s 2010 Calder Cup Championship team that went 60-17-0-3 in regular season play before ultimately claiming the franchise’s 11th title. In total, the Carrot River, Saskatchewan native appeared in 260 games with Hershey, scoring 46 points (7 goals, 39 assists), and posting a +24 plus/minus rating. He also appeared in 36 playoff contests with the club.
Wellar got his coaching start in Hershey during his tenure as a player. With Hershey head coach Mike Haviland absent due to a medical issue, and Wellar unavailable to play due to injury, he served as Hershey’s assistant coach for one game on Jan. 26, 2014.
Following his departure from Hershey, Wellar served as a player/assistant coach with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies in 2014-15, and Alaska Aces in 2015-16. Upon his retirement, Wellar moved behind the bench permanently as an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, guiding the club to a 36-29-6-1 record in 2015-16. He joined the ECHL’s Reading Royals last season in the same capacity, helping the club secure a playoff berth with a 39-24-9-0 record, good for a third place in the North Division.
Wellar’s return to Hershey also reunites him with new Hershey head coach Spencer Carbery. Wellar was a teammate of Carbery’s for parts of two seasons with Hershey’s ECHL affiliate, the South Carolina Stingrays. The duo teamed up to guide the Stingrays to a Kelly Cup title in 2009.
In his 12-year playing career, Wellar, a 3rd round selection of the Capitals in 2002, amassed over 300 games in the AHL, making stops in Peoria, Worcester, Toronto, and Hershey. His resume also includes 441 games at the ECHL level, including an All-Star Game appearance in 2005. Wellar is one of just four players to win the Kelly Cup Championship three times. In addition to his title in South Carolina, he was victorious with Alaska in 2006 and Reading in 2013.
Headline Photo: The AHL