Former Tri-City Storm assistant coach Taylor Nelson has accepted the same position at Canisius College, the school announced Monday. Nelson, 29, was an assistant coach with the Storm for two seasons (2015-17) and won the 2016 Clark Cup.
“I want to thank owner Kirk Brooks for his graciousness towards my family. He gives our players every opportunity to grow and develop. I would like to thank [President of Hockey Operations] Steve Lowe for all his hard work that goes under the radar to fans in getting the Storm players that perform on the ice and people that the community can be proud of.”
Canisius is a member of the Atlantic Hockey conference and named Trevor Large as the program's seventh Head Coach in April. Last season, the Golden Griffins tied a program-record with 21 victories, the most in a season since 1999-2000.
A former All-American goaltender at Ferris State, Nelson helped preside over all Storm development areas and specialized in working with Tri-City goalies. In 2015-16, Jake Kielly had the best save percentage in the Storm's regular season history (.919) and set the USHL Tier 1 playoff record with a .950 save percentage en route to the Clark Cup. Dayton Rasmussen qualified for the 2016 World Jr. A Challenge in Bonnyville, AB, helping the U.S. Junior Select Team win the gold medal. Eric Dop led Storm netminders with 30 games played during 2016-17 and will be a freshman at Bowling Green State University this upcoming fall.
“I’d like to acknowledge the two assistants I worked with, most recently Matt Stewart and Ben Gordon the year prior," Nelson added. "These two people have helped me grow as a coach and I consider them great friends. I want to thank Bill Muckalt for taking a chance and hiring me as one of his assistant coaches. He is a great mentor and great person. Being a part of a championship team was a season I will never forget.
“I’d also like to thank our players for impacting me and making me a better coach. I would like to thank Coach Noreen and wish him the best of luck this season.”
Prior to his arrival in Kearney, Nelson was a volunteer assistant coach at Ferris State in 2014-15. Nelson backstopped the Bulldogs to their only Frozen Four appearance during his senior season in 2011-12.
Nelson is originally from Regina, SK and played two professional seasons (2012-14), competing in 73 professional games with the ECHL’s San Francisco Bulls and CHL's Wichita Thunder.
Tri-City has helped two coaches progress to the NCAA level this offseason. Bill Muckalt was named Associate Head Coach at the University of Michigan in June.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in five consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.