Sabres announce changes to coaching and development staffs


FILE – Buffalo Sabres head coach Don Granato gives instructions during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, in this Saturday, May 8, 2021, file photo. The Buffalo Sabres hired Don Granato as their new head coach on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. Granato had been the interim head coach after replacing Ralph Krueger behind the bench at midseason. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Sabres announced on Thursday that Jason Christie, Matt Ellis and Marty Wilford have been hired as assistant coaches and Justin White has been hired as video coordinator for the team. Adam Mair has been hired as the director of player development. Dan Girardi will move to a development role within the organization.

Assistant coach Mike Bales and video coach Myles Fee will remain with the team this season.

“In Marty and Jason, we’ve added two quality people and coaches to our organization. Their experience at multiple levels of pro hockey will be crucial as we implement our vision for this team,” Sabres head coach Don Granato said. “We are also excited to bring back Matt Ellis, Mike Bales and Myles Fee, and add Justin White to our group to continue building on the progress of last season.

“I’m confident in the passion and intensity they will all bring to the rink each day, and their ability to get the best out of our players and team,” Granato said.

Jason Christie holds the ECHL all-time record for coaching wins with 667, and served as a head coach in the ECHL for 18 seasons. Christie also served as an assistant coach from the AHL Chicago Wolves from 2008-10.

An interim assistant coach for the Sabres in 2020-21, Matt Ellis played in 356 games in the NHL during his nine-year career for the Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings. Prior to joining the bench as an assistant coach, Ellis was named the director of player development for the Sabres in September of 2020. He also spent four seasons working for the Academy of Hockey in LECOM Harborcenter as a development coach then director.

Marty Wilford has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks. Prior to that, he spent the first eight seasons of his coaching career serving as an assistant coach for three different AHL teams. Wilford played 14 years in professional hockey, and amassed 275 points in 539 games in his seven seasons in the AHL as a defenseman.

Adam Mair played 615 games during a 12 year NHL career as a forward for the Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs after being drafted in the fourth round of the 1997 NHL Draft. During the 2020-21 season, Mair served as an assistant coach for the AHL Rochester Americans. Prior to his stay with the Amerks, he spent five seasons as development coach for the Sabres.

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