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Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Penguins Name New WBS Coach, Not a Familiar Name

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WBS Penguins head coach Kirk MacDonald
Kirk MacDonald

There had not been a whole lot of speculation circulating over who would be the new coach of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate. When the announcement came Wednesday, it was not a familiar name to many.

Kirk MacDonald steps in as the 12th AHL coach in Penguins franchise history.

The 40-year-old native of Victoria, British Columbia, most recently was head coach of the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League for two seasons. He guided that team to a 41-13-8 record last season, the best mark in the USHL, and to the Eastern Conference title in the Clark Cup playoffs.

MacDonald also spent eight seasons with the Reading Royals of the ECHL with various roles, including assistant coach, head coach and director of hockey operations. He began coaching as an assistant with his alma mater, RPI.

As a forward, he played seven pro seasons, mostly at the AHL level. He was not drafted and did not reach the NHL.

The WBS job came open when coach J.D. Forrest and assistant Kevin Porter did not have their contracts renewed. WBS made the playoffs but were swept in two games by Lehigh in the first round. The job had been open since late April.