ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, four-time Pacific Division Champions and proud affiliate of the NHL’s 2014 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets, announced that assistant coach Mark Hardy has accepted an assistant coach position with the Chicago Wolves, the American Hockey League affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.
Hardy, 55, recently wrapped up his third season as an assistant coach with the Reign, in which the team captured its third straight Pacific Division title.
"It's been an honor to work for Justin Kemp and the Kemp family for the past three years," Hardy said. "Coaching in front of 8,000 passionate fans a night has been phenomenal. It was wonderful coaching with Jason Christie and I'm very proud of what we accomplished together. I appreciate all that Justin, Jason and everyone within the Reign organization have done for me, and I have every confidence they will bring home a championship to the deserving Reign fans."
The native of Semaden, Switzerland was hired as assistant coach prior to the 2011-12 season, and worked primarily with the Reign defensemen and penalty-killing units, helping Ontario reduce its goals against each year, culminating in a club-best 191 goals against in 2013-14. In the three seasons that Hardy helped guide the Reign alongside head coach Jason Christie, Ontario never missed the playoffs and clinched the Pacific Division each year.
"This is a great opportunity for Mark. He's coached at the NHL level, he's full of information and he's been a great person to work with," Christie said. "He's going to the Wolves; they're a great organization with a passionate owner, and it's a great fit for him."
Reign president Justin Kemp also thanked Hardy for his time and level of commitment while in Ontario.
"First, I would like to congratulate Mark on achieving a goal I know he'd been working hard towards," Reign president Justin Kemp said. "He's been a tremendous asset to our team over the past three seasons, and he has been instrumental in the development of our players. We'll certainly miss him, and wish him nothing but continued success in his new endeavor."
The position with the Wolves is Hardy's first opportunity with an AHL club. Prior to joining the Reign, Hardy had served as an assistant coach in two stints with the Kings from 1999-2006 and 2008-2010, and as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks from 2006-2008. He also was an assistant coach with the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the International Hockey League from 1995-1999.
As a player, Hardy played professionally for 18 seasons, including 15 in the NHL. Hardy recorded 368 points (62g, 306a) and 1,293 penalty minutes in 915 career regular season NHL games with the Kings, Minnesota North Stars and New York Rangers, and was a member of the Kings club that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993.