|Jeff Brown (Indiana Ice photo)|
Brown led the Ice to a 42-11-7 record and the USHL Clark Cup championship this past season. As coach and general manager, he took over midway through the 2012-13 season and orchestrated a rebuild that led to a worst-to-first turnaround and a championship. He was named the USHL's General Manager of the Year this past season for his efforts in building the roster, using a slew of trades during the 2012-13 season to build a stockpile of draft picks that was used to pick several key pieces for this year's championship squad.
During his tenure with the Ice, Brown's teams went 54-32-5. They also went 9-4 in the postseason -- all coming this season. His teams had a strong emphasis on defense, a heavy forecheck and mobile defensemen who had the freedom to play as Brown often did as an NHL veteran, with the freedom to pinch in from the points to keep the attack alive. This season, the Ice were the USHL's top possession team, leading the league in both shots and shots allowed. The Ice had eight shutouts in 2013-14 -- a franchise record -- and were the top defensive team in the USHL this past season. The Ice were also the third-highest scoring team in the league at the same time.
The Ice made only two significant midseason moves, acquiring goaltender Hayden Stewart and defenseman Ryan Mantha during the year. Otherwise, they won the championship with largely the same roster they began the season with. Goaltender Jason Pawloski was named the Clark Cup Playoffs MVP. Defenseman Tim Shoup was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team, and forward Scott Conway was an All-USHL player. The USHL announced in May the Ice will be going dormant for the 2014-15 season due to a lack of arena availability.
This will be Brown's third junior hockey coaching position, and his fourth overall. In addition to his two years with the Ice, he coached the Tier II St. Louis Junior Blues, and won the NAHL title in 2012. His first coaching job was in 2005-06 with the UHL Missouri River Otters near St. Louis.
Brown, 48, is headed back to his hometown. He is an Ottawa native who played 747 games in 13 NHL seasons as a defenseman for Quebec, St. Louis, Vancouver, Hartford/Carolina, Toronto and Washington. He retired from playing in 1998. He played in the 1994 Stanley Cup Final with the Vancouver Canucks. His best season came in 1992-93, when he had 25 goals and 78 points.
The OHL is one of three Canadian leagues that compete at the Major Junior level, which is the top level of junior hockey in North America and sends many players to the NHL. The USHL, where the Ice have competed, is classified as Junior A, which is the top level where players maintain college eligibility. Major Junior players receive a small stipend, and as a result, do not meet NCAA eligibility guidelines.
The story was first broken by Ottawa radio personality A.J. Jakubec on Twitter Wednesday evening.
Another item observers are watching is the eventual destination of Brown's 16-year-old son Logan, who is already being looked at as a top forward prospect in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The Niagara IceDogs currently hold his OHL rights, having picked him sixth in this year's OHL draft. He also attended the USNDTP camp and, if he were to remain in the USHL, would likely remain with them. Logan played for the Indiana Junior Ice U16 team this past season.
Ottawa Sun article