The Washington Capitals announced on Thursday that they have hired Mitch Love as an assistant coach. Love is the first coach to join Spencer Carbery’s staff from outside of the organization.
Love was rumored to being getting consideration for the Calgary Flames open head coaching position. He will primarily handle the Capitals’ defensemen.
The Washington Capitals have named Mitch Love as an assistant coach.
Love, who will primarily work with the Capitals' defensemen, will join assistant coach Scott Allen and goaltending coach Scott Murray on head coach Spencer Carbery's staff.#ALLCAPS
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 22, 2023
Love is the reigning two-time AHL coach of the year, leading the Stockton Heat in 2021-22 and the Calgary Wranglers in 2022-23 to combined records of 96-33-11.
Love’s Wranglers were eliminated in the AHL’s Pacific Division Finals in five games by the eventual Western Conference Champion, Coachella Valley Firebirds.
Before that, Love was the bench boss of the Saskatoon Blades, Braden Holtby’s former WHL junior team, for three seasons from 2018 to 2021.
“It doesn’t take much time to be around him to recognize that you’re in the presence of someone who is going to go on to do great things in the coaching world,” Colin Priestner, the president and general manager of the Saskatoon Blades, said to the Calgary Sun in May. “I told our players from the first month that we had him to enjoy our time with him because he wouldn’t be here long. I constantly told them that. I could see very early on that we were catching a guy who you’re very lucky to be coached by in juniors and to embrace that and learn from him while he’s still here, because it wasn’t going to be long.”
Love first joined the coaching ranks in 2011 where he was an assistant coach for the Everett Silvertips through 2018. Love had a long professional playing career in the minors as an enforcer, spending a combined six seasons in the American Hockey League and ECHL. In the AHL, Love posted six goals, 27 points, and more than 100 fights during his career. Love was converted to a fourth-line forward at the end of his career as his playing days were ending.
The defenseman was the first ever captain of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips and led them to the League Finals during the expansion team’s first season.
Love’s hiring comes after the Capitals did not retain assistant coaches Blaine Forsythe and Kevin McCarthy behind the bench after the season ended. The Capitals’ interest in Love was first reported by 32 Thoughts Podcast co-host Jeff Marek.
Here’s the press release from the team:
Capitals Name Mitch Love Assistant Coach
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have named Mitch Love as an assistant coach, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. Love, who will primarily work with the Capitals’ defensemen, will join assistant coach Scott Allen and goaltending coach Scott Murray on head coach Spencer Carbery’s staff.
Love, 39, joins Washington after spending the previous two seasons as the head coach of the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate, the Calgary Wranglers (2022-23) and Stockton Heat (2021-22). Love, who guided Calgary to an AHL-best 51-17-3-1 record in 2022-23, received the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach for the second-consecutive season. Love became just the third coach in AHL history to win back-to-back Pieri Awards and the first to do so in his first two seasons in the league.
Under Love last season, Calgary ranked first in the AHL in goals against per game (2.42) and penalty kill percentage (85.1%) and fourth in goals for per game (3.56). In 2021-22, Stockton ranked third in the AHL in goals against per game (2.72) and finished with the league’s second-best record. In two seasons as head coach, Love complied a record of 96-33-8-3 and won two Pacific Division titles.
Prior to joining the Flames organization, Love was head coach of the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League (WHL) from 2018-21, where he posted a record of 95-44-12-4 over three seasons. The Quesnel, British Columbia native also served as an assistant coach with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL for seven seasons from 2011-18.
Internationally, Love was an assistant coach on Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship and served in the same role at the 2021 tournament, earning a silver medal. Love coached Capitals forward Connor McMichael at both tournaments.
Love played professionally for six seasons, including five years in the AHL, where he recorded 27 points (6g, 21a) and 808 penalty minutes in 278 career games.
Headline photo: Candice Ward/Calgary Wranglers
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