Courtesy Las Vegas Wranglers
Published Thursday, June 25, 2009 | 11:36 a.m.
Updated Thursday, June 25, 2009 | 3:25 p.m.
Las Vegas Sun reporters Steve Silver and Ray Brewer analyze the Las Vegas Wranglers' newest hire, head coach and general manager Ryan Mougenel.
The wait is over.
The Las Vegas Wranglers have hired former Fresno Falcons and Stockton Thunder assistant Ryan Mougenel to replace outgoing head coach and general manager Glen Gulutzan.
The Wranglers have scheduled a press conference to introduce Mougenel as the second coach in franchise history on Tuesday at 11 a.m. inside the Orleans Arena. Team owner Charles Davenport and president Billy Johnson will be on hand Tuesday to discuss the search process for Gulutzan's replacement.
"Obviously it's a great opportunity for myself and I'm very excited about joining this team and the city of Las Vegas," Mougenel said from Montreal, where he is currently scouting players at the NHL Draft.. "Taking over the program Glen Gulutzan has built over the years leaves me big shoes to fill, but it's also a big opportunity and I think it will be a great tool for recruiting the best talent to the Wranglers."
Mougenel, a 33-year-old Scarborough, Ontario native, entered coaching in 2005 as an assistant with the Fresno Falcons under Matt Thomas. That 2005-06 season was the final year that Davenport owned the Falcons.
Shortly after the franchise folded due to financial instability last season, Stockton hired Thomas in December of 2008. Thomas brought Mougenel with him to finish the 2008-09 season in Stockton. The Wranglers knocked the Thunder out of the playoffs this season in seventh game of the Pacific Division finals.
"I think Las Vegas is a hockey town," Mougenel said. "I have a past relationship with (Davenport) and from talking to him I know that the Wranglers' fans have a lot of passion. They expect a winner and so do I. The team I’m going to build is going to be exciting for the fans. I’m going to build it on speed. We are going to go North to South and play fast hockey.
After six largely successful years with the Wranglers, Gulutzan accepted a promotion to the American Hockey League to be the head coach of the Texas Stars, an affiliate of the NHL's Dallas Stars.
Mougenel will now inherit a team that has made the playoffs four consecutive years, including five of the last six seasons.
"Coming into a culture of winning is always a little easier than having to create something from scratch," said Mougenel, who plans to hold a transitional meeting with Gulutzan this weekend.
As a player, Mougenel bounced around various leagues and cities in a 10-year career. He spent four years in the Ontario Hockey League before turning professional. He reached the AHL with the Rochester American in 1999-2000 and in the same season made a brief stint with Team Canada.
In five seasons in the ECHL, Mougenel played for the now defunct Hampton Roads, Chesapeake, Jackson and Atlantic City franchises. He won the Kelly Cup with Atlantic City in 2002-03 prior to retiring as a player.
Now, Mougenel hopes to win another Kelly Cup -- this time from behind the bench.
"Absolutely, that is 100 percent my goal," Mougenel said. "I know of all of Gulutzan's successes he wishes he could have won the Kelly Cup. I think the Wranglers are capable of winning a championship and that's what I intend to do."
Along with former NHLer’s Wayne and Keith Primeau, Mougenel is owner and operator of the Durham Hockey Institute, a hockey school in the Toronto area. He is also a part owner of the Durham Fury, a member of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League (OPJHL).
The Orleans Arena, a Boyd Gaming facility located just west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the nation’s leading mid-sized arenas, and was recently ranked No. 1 in the United States and No. 5 internationally among venues of similar size by Venues Today Magazine.
The Arena hosts more than 200 events each year, including concerts by top names like Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Van Halen, Brooks & Dunn, Black Eyed Peas, Akon and Rihanna; family favorites like The Harlem Globetrotters and Circus Spectacular; and a wide variety of sporting events, including NCAA basketball tournaments, the West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference Basketball Championships, mixed martial arts with Superior Cage Combat, and major motorsports events.
The arena serves as home to the Las Vegas Wranglers professional ECHL hockey team, the Las Vegas Legends professional indoor soccer team, and the Lingerie Football League’s Las Vegas Sin. Stay connected to the Orleans Arena on Facebook (www.facebook.com/orleansarena) and on Twitter (@orleansarena).
Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or [email protected]