WINDSOR, CO. – The Colorado Eagles, proud AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, have announced that the team has signed head coach Greg Cronin to a three-year contract extension through the 2023-24 season. In addition, the Eagles have also re-signed assistant coaches Aaron Schneekloth and Brett Clark to two-year deals, along with goaltending coach Ryan Bach.
“We are really excited to be able to bring back Greg and the entire coaching staff,” said Eagles general manager Craig Billington. “The work that they have done in player development and on-ice performance has been fantastic. With the culture that we have created, having consistency among the coaching staff is very important and we can now continue to instill that culture with consistency and transparency.”
Cronin has spent over 30 seasons in coaching, including 12 years as an assistant in the NHL and five seasons as a head coach at the AHL level. A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Cronin has posted a record of 85-60-12 in his first three seasons behind the bench in Colorado. Before taking the helm of the Colorado Eagles at the start of the 2018-19 season, he spent four years on the New York Islanders' coaching staff, serving three seasons as an assistant before being promoted to Associate Coach in 2017-18. It marked his second stint with the Islanders, as he previously was an assistant coach with the team from 1998 to 2003. In addition to his time in New York, Cronin was an assistant with the Toronto Maple Leafs for three seasons from 2011-14, helping the Leafs to their first playoff appearance in nine years in 2013.
Cronin served two seasons as head coach of the Islanders' AHL team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, from 2003-05. He led the Sound Tigers to the playoffs during his first season in 2003-04 with a record of 41-23-16 (98 points). Following his time with Bridgeport, Cronin spent six seasons as the head coach at Northeastern University from 2005 to 2011. He helped rebuild the Huskies program, improving from three wins in his first season to an NCAA tournament appearance in 2009, the school's first in 15 years. That season, he won Hockey East's Bob Kullen Coach of the Year Award.
Cronin was an assistant coach at the University of Maine (1988-90, 1993-95) and Colorado College (1990-93), and also spent time as interim head coach at both institutions as well (Colorado College in 1992 and Maine in 1995-96). Following a four-year playing career at Colby College (1982-86), Cronin began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1987-88.
One of the co-founders of the United States National Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., Cronin served as the head coach and director of player development for the U.S. Under-18 Team for two years from 1996-98. Internationally, Cronin worked as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 1997, 2011 and 2012 IIHF World Championship, as well as the 1997 and 1998 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he helped the U.S. Junior National Team to a silver medal in 1997.
Schneekloth is set to return to Cronin’s staff as an assistant coach for the fourth consecutive season, after leading the Eagles to back-to-back Kelly Cup Championships in his two seasons as the team’s bench boss in the ECHL. Schneekloth finished 2nd in the ECHL's Coach of the Year voting during his each of his first two seasons, after leading Colorado to a 47-20-2-3 record during the 2016-17 and a 48-18-4-2 mark during the 2017-18 campaign. He would also guide Colorado to a stellar record of 32-10-2 in the postseason.
Schneekloth previously spent three seasons as the Eagles assistant coach under former Eagles head coach Chris Stewart. Prior to moving behind the bench, Schneekloth enjoyed a highly decorated professional career that spanned 11 years and saw him spend seven seasons in an Eagles sweater, including a championship season in 2007. Schneekloth retired in 2013 as the Eagles' all-time leader in points, goals and assists by a defenseman. He also left having etched his name into the Eagles record book ranked 5th overall in points (356), 2nd in games played (382) and 6th in goals (111). He also owns an NCAA championship as a member of the University of North Dakota team which captured the NCAA title in 2000.
Clark, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, is poised to enter his second season as an Eagles assistant coach. A standout player at the University of Maine, Clark was named to the All-Rookie Team in his freshman year. He went on to amass 186 points (45g, 141a) in 689 games in the National Hockey League, including stints with Colorado, Montreal, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and Atlanta. In addition, the former defenseman collected 186 points (44g, 142a) in 379 career AHL contests with the Fredericton Canadiens, Chicago Wolves, Hershey Bears, Oklahoma City Barons and Lake Erie Monsters. Clark served as the team captain in Hershey during the 2004-05 season and led the American Hockey League with a plus-minus rating of +28 in 2001-02.
In addition to his time at both the AHL and NHL levels, Clark skated in 106 games in the IHL, notching 11 goals and 26 assists in 106 games with the Orlando Solar Bears, helping lead Orlando to a Turner Cup Championship in 2001. Prior to moving behind the bench as an assistant, Clark spent the previous seven seasons as a development coach with the Avalanche.
Bach, the Eagles inaugural season goaltender, re-joined the team in 2006-07 as goaltending coach and is entering his fourth season in the same role at the AHL level with Colorado. His duties were expanded heading into the 2007-08 season when he was named assistant coach and served as interim head coach while Chris Stewart recovered from offseason back surgery. Prior to coaching, Bach played eight seasons of professional hockey including two stops in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings and the Los Angeles Kings.
Bach attended Colorado College for four seasons, finishing with a 53-19-8 record with the Tigers. He was an All-WCHA First-Team Goaltender twice, as well as being named a two-time All-American with CC. He started his career in the Red Wings’ system playing for the AHL’s Adirondack Red Wings during the 1996-97 campaign. The following season he played for the Houston Aeros and was selected as an IHL All-Star. In the two seasons before coming to Colorado, Bach won two straight English Superleague Championships with the Sheffield Steelers and the Belfast Giants. He finished up his pro career with the Eagles going 33-15-5.
Colorado will face the San Jose Barracuda in a pair of preseason games which will take place on Saturday, October 9th at 6:00 pm MT and Sunday, October 10th at 2:00 pm MT at the Budweiser Events Center, which is now open to 100% fan capacity. Tickets for all preseason and regular-season games will go on sale to the public in September. Season tickets for the 2021-22 season are on sale now and can be secured with a deposit of just $100 per seat by visiting ColoradoEagles.com or by calling the ticket department at (970) 686-7468.