In a move that surprised some but not others, the Tri-City Americans announced Monday that Head Coach Kelly Buchberger will not be back with the team for the 2021-22 WHL season.

The Americans released a statement that read in part from GM Bob Tory:

“We would like to thank Kelly for the three years that he spent with our hockey club and wish him nothing but the best in his future hockey endeavors."

The Americans said he contract will not be renewed for the upcoming season.

Buchberger played for five different NHL teams during a long and successful 18-year career, winning 2 Stanley Cups with Edmonton as a gritty right-wing player. He scored 105 goals in his 18 NHL seasons.

As coach of the Americans, Buchberger was the 21st coach in franchise history, taking over in 2018 for Mike Williamson. He coached the better part of 3 seasons. In his first year the team went 34-28-5-1 and lost in the 1st Round of WHL playoffs (wins, losses, overtime losses, shootout losses).

The end of the 2019-2020 season ended with COVID cancelling the last few regular-season games and playoffs, prior to that the team went 17-40-4-2.

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After returning in spring 2021 from missing all of the fall and winter, the Americans were 7-12, losing 5 games not played due to a COVID lockdown. Buchberger's overall record with the team was 58 wins, 80 regulation losses, and 12 losses in overtime or shootouts.

No word from the team on when a new coach will be named.


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