SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – The Tri-City Storm moved quickly in replacing its head coach and general manager, as the Kearney, Neb.-based team Tuesday named Jim Hulton its new hire.
The Storm fired Josh Hauge Monday after a 4-9-2 start.
The 44-year old Hulton has 10 years of coaching experience in the Ontario Hockey League and most recently was an assistant coach for the NHL’s Florida Panthers.
He becomes the sixth coach in Storm history. The agreement with Hulton has him in place with the Storm through the end of the season. The team will also pay Hauge his salary through the end of the year.
Hulton’s OHL coaching experience took him to the Mississauga IceDogs, Belleville, Kingston, and back to Mississauga with the St. Michael’s Majors between 1998-2008.
He joined the Panthers in 2008 and was an assistant coach in Florida until 2011.
The new coach has lofty goals for the team, even with the slow start that will have the franchise trying to claw up from the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
“I’m honored and excited to join the Tri-City Storm as the head coach,” Hulton said. “We want to be competitive, we want to be a hard team to play against and first and foremost we want to set our sights on a playoff spot.”
Storm owner Kirk Brooks said, “We found Jim by talking to some very high level contacts throughout the industry and found that everyone had glowing endorsements about him.”
Brooks added, “In Coach Hulton we’re getting a deeply experienced guy that has time on the bench in both the highest level of junior hockey in Canada and in the NHL with the Florida Panthers. Hulton will use his vast experience to further develop the talent we have on this team, but more importantly, he will drive and engineer better performance.”