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Dan Watson named ECHL Coach of the Year

Dan Watson named ECHL Coach of the Year

After leading the Walleye to the most wins in a single season in Toledo ECHL history Head Coach Dan Watson was honored by the league as the winner of the John Brophy Award as ECHL Coach of the Year.

In just his first season as head coach, Watson led the Walleye to a Toledo ECHL record 51 wins and the teams second Brabham Cup Championship in the past three years. Toledo won the Central Division as well for its third straight division crown and third straight postseason appearance with the second most points (106) in Toledo ECHL history.

“To be recognized for this honor is very humbling,” said Head Coach Dan Watson. “The ECHL is full of many coaches worthy of this, and to be chosen from that group is special. This really is a team award and the accomplishments that we reached because of the players executing the game plans on the ice. I give a ton of credit to my staff especially assistant coach Andy Delmore for all of the hard work that they put in over the course of the year.”

Under his leadership, the Walleye set a new ECHL record by becoming the first team in the 29 year history of the ECHL to lead the league in goals (302), goals allowed (191), power play percentage (25.1%) and penalty kill percentage (86.8%). Watson also become the first Walleye coach to be behind the bench for the ECHL All-Star game as he led the All-Stars to an 8-7 win over Adirondack.

“We are extremely pleased and happy for this honor in Dan being recognized as ECHL Coach of the Year,” said Walleye general manager Neil Neukam. “For all his hard work day in and day out, his commitment to his team, the community and the entire Walleye organization, we couldn’t be more proud!”

Watson has guided this year’s team to numerous Walleye records that include: Most wins (51), most road wins (25), fewest overtime/shootout losses (4), best PP percentage (25.1%) and longest consecutive game winning streak (9). He matched Walleye records for longest road winning streak at 7 games, longest home unbeaten streak (13), consecutive games with a power play goal (6) and consecutive games without allowing a power play over the final 12 games of the season.

The native of Glencoe, Ontario has been with the Walleye since the team started play in the 2009-10 season. Prior to this year he was a part of four Walleye playoff appearances (2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016) and the best Eastern Conference record in each of the last two years. Watson finished his playing career in Toledo with the Toledo Storm in the 2006-07 season. Over his seven year playing career he appeared in 447 games with 89 points (23G, 66A) and 394 penalty minutes.

The John Brophy Award is named for John Brophy, who won a record three ECHL Titles with Hampton Roads in 1991, 1992 and 1998. He was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009. Watson joins Derek Lalonde (2014-15), Nick Vitucci (2004-05) and Claude Noel (2002-03) as the only Toledo coaches in ECHL history to win the award.