Boise, ID (7/20/17) – The Steelheads announced on Thursday that they have extended the contract of Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Neil Graham through the end of the 2018-19 season.
Graham, 32, is preparing for his third season as head coach of the Steelheads. Currently the second-youngest bench boss in the ECHL, Graham was the youngest head coach in Steelheads history when he was hired prior to the 2015-16 season. Since then, Graham has led the Steelheads to two playoff berths and a 43-win season last year.
“It’s certainly very exciting for me. I think we’ve had two successful seasons, and there’s a lot more to be done and a lot more to be accomplished,” said Graham. “I like what we’ve built so far, but it’s important to maintain our goal of getting to that next level and bringing a Kelly Cup back to Idaho.”
Graham has a regular-season head coaching record of 81-46-17 with the Steelheads. Last season, the Steelheads earned their fifth-highest points total (93) and tied for their fifth-highest win total (43) in the ECHL era. Under Graham’s leadership, the Steelheads had eight call-ups to the American Hockey League for ECHL contracted players last season.
In each of the past two seasons, Graham has led Idaho to the ECHL’s second-best penalty kill, an 85.8 percent success rate last season and 86.5 percent in 2015-16.
“Neil has been a tremendous leader for our hockey team over the last two seasons,” said Steelheads President Eric Trapp. “He has maintained a tradition of winning for our organization, and he has helped us foster a strong relationship with our fans and the community.”
“We expect that he will take our team to even greater heights during the next two seasons.”
Graham is preparing for his sixth season with the organization, having served as a player-assistant with the Steelheads in 2012-13 before moving behind the bench as a full-time assistant from 2013 to 2015.
“Boise has been unbelievable to my family and to me. It’s a place we consider home, and I will continue to work hard to give all Idaho hockey fans the championship that they deserve,” said Graham.
Prior to coaching, Graham played three professional seasons from 2010 to 2013, playing 95 regular season games in the SPHL with the Augusta RiverHawks and 18 ECHL games with South Carolina, Greenville, and Idaho. Graham finished with 42 goals and 98 points.