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New Wranglers coach and general manager is familiar face in Las Vegas

Mike Madill played five seasons with city’s minor league team

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STEPHEN SYLVANIE / SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Wranglers captain Mike Madill rips a shot on goal after crossing the blue line in his return to the lineup tonight against the Ontario Reign.

Updated Friday, April 26, 2013 | 4:40 p.m.

Wranglers New General Manager

Mike Madill shakes hands with team owner Gary Jacobs, right, to the applause of team staff members after signing the contract making him the new head coach on Friday at the Orleans Arena. Launch slideshow »

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Mike Madill was beginning to start planning the next phase of his life. He spent some time working on some construction projects with his brother-in-law this offseason, and talked about starting a business.

Madill’s career plans shifted Tuesday when he received a call from Billy Johnson, the Las Vegas Wranglers president and chief operating officer, with a job offer to become the next head coach and general manager of the Wranglers.

Madill thought about it, accepted, signed the paperwork and was introduced Friday to the public as the fourth head coach in the franchise’s history.

“It’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Madill, who, in essence, retired as a player by accepting the position. “It’s a stressful how it worked out and how quickly it all came together, but it’s an opportunity that hundreds of people would want, and I’m glad they approached me with what they did.”

Madill, 30, takes over for Ryan Mougenel, whose contract was not renewed after the 2012-13 season. Madill was complimentary toward his former head coach, who gave Madill a chance to watch games from the bench when he was injured late last season.

“He wished me well, and I did the same,” Madill said of his former coach. “I’ve learned a lot from him. I really appreciate everything he’s done for me.”

Madill spent five seasons with the Wranglers, serving as captain the last two years. He spent most of his time at the ECHL level, playing in 477 games. Madill scored 30 goals with 166 assists.

He played 10 games in the American Hockey League, and also spent time playing in Japan.

This is Madill’s first head coaching job, which wasn’t a concern to Johnson.

“Inexperience is a matter of context,” Johnson said. “He’s very experienced in leading a team. I wouldn’t say he was an assistant player-coach at the time, but I wouldn’t dispute he did some coaching.

“Plus he’s a guy I think will be a successful coach — why not give him a two-year head start and why not here?”

Each of Madill’s predecessors has taken the Wranglers to at least one trip to the Kelly Cup Finals. Madill would like to join them, but Johnson isn’t putting that expectation on his first-time head coach.

“Our expectations are a little more karma-based,” Johnson said. “(We just want coaches to) lead well and have the respect of your players and be competitive.”

Added Madill: “It is a little pressure, but there is always pressure in this game. It goes with the territory, and having a team that wants to compete and wants to be at the top of the league.”

Paul Delos Santos can be reached at 990-2416 or mail to paul.santos@lasvegassun.com. Follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/pauliedelos.

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