Last month, Cassidy was named an assistant coach of the Rochester Americans hockey team, which is the American Hockey League farm team of the Buffalo Sabres. Cassidy said he is thrilled to be coming back to New York to be involved with an organization that has a new owner who is committed to winning.
Six years ago, Cassidy was leading the men’s ice hockey program at National Sports Academy as the head coach of the Mountaineers junior team. He then jumped to the USA Hockey coaching ranks and had a five-year run as an assistant to Ron Rolston with the men’s National Development Program. Living in Michigan, Cassidy helped Rolston lead the American juniors to numerous titles, most recently the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 World Championship in Germany.
When Rolston got the nod to be head coach of the Amerks on July 27, he asked Cassidy to join him. It was an opportunity that the Lake Placid native couldn’t turn down.
This season, Cassidy will be joined by long-time Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jay McKee. The announcement of the hiring of Cassidy and McKee was made on Aug. 31 by Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier.
“Obviously, it’s an exciting time for me” Cassidy told the Enterprise Tuesday. “Being out in Michigan for five years, I was a long way from home. It’s awesome to be back coaching in New York. Not only am I about five hours away from home, I’m with a Buffalo Sabres organization that really wants their team to be one of the premier teams in the NHL.”
From 1979 to 2008, Rochester had been the AHL farm team supplying players to the Sabres, but that relationship ended when the Portland Pirates took on that affiliation. But the Americans returned to that role when Terry Pegula purchased both the Sabres and the Amerks during the 2010-11 hockey season. Cassidy said it’s a great situation.
“Rochester and Buffalo are only 50 or 60 miles apart,” Cassidy said. “You can’t get much closer than that. It’s a great fit. There’s a lot of excitement in Western New York on the hockey front.”
Cassidy played hockey at SUNY Cortland and graduated in 1995. He served as an assistant at Cortland for two years, before taking on the same role the following season at Potsdam State. During his four seasons coaching NSA, he compiled a 124-71-15 record and led the Mountaineers to the Midwest Prep League playoff each year before moving on to his position with USA Hockey. Now working at the AHL level, Cassidy is just one league away from coaching the world’s best hockey players.
“I was given advice that there’s no road map when it comes to coaching hockey if you want to move on,” Cassidy said. “In this profession, you are going to be moving around. Obviously, I’d love to be a head coach in the AHL and eventually be an assistant coach in the NHL. I’m one step closer to coaching in the National Hockey League, and that’s a dream I’ve always had.”
Photo courtesy of Rochester Americans
Lake Placid native Chadd Cassidy speaks during a press conference announcing his hiring as an assistant coach of the Rochester Americans, the AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.