BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Buffalo Sabres have named Ron Rolston the head coach of the team. Rolston has been interim head coach since February 20th, after Lindy Ruff was relieved of his duties.
Rolston, who is the 16th head coach in franchise history, guided the Sabres to a 15-11-5 record in the 31 games he served as interim head coach during the 2012-13 season. The Sabres finished 21-21-6 and missed the playoffs for a second straight year and fourth time in six seasons.
"Now in today's athletes, especially the younger players who are coming up, you have to have that ability to relate to them on different levels and I think that's very important. Obviously it's their job out there, and it's a very important job. It's also a game where you have to understand the individuals," Rolston said at a late Tuesday morning press conference.
Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said, "For me personally it became more and more evident that he was a very good fit, not only for the present but for the future."
Regier said that when he brought Rolston on as interim head coach he planned on interviewing other coaching candidates, but as the season went on he through Rolston was an ideal fit.
At the end-of-season news conference last week, Regier said more "suffering" might be in store for Sabres fans before the team can once again be considered a contender. He began a rebuilding plan at the end of last season, and Regier hasn't said if those plans will include keeping goalie Ryan Miller and leading scorer Thomas Vanek or trading one or both before their contracts expire at the end of next season.
Rolston was in his second season coaching Rochester when he was hired as interim head coach in Buffalo. He spent seven seasons as coach of USA Hockey's national team development program. During that time, he became the first coach to lead the U.S. Under-18 team to win three gold medals (2005, 2009, 2011).
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