KNOXVILLE - The Knoxville Ice Bears introduced former minor league defenseman Scott Hillman as their new head coach in a press conference Friday at the Civic Coliseum.
A native of Ontario, Canada, Hillman obtained a Master’s Degree at the University of Windsor, where he was also the highest scoring defenseman in the nation. Hillman went on to have a successful career with the Odessa Jackalopes of the Central Hockey League. He was the player/assistant coach for three years under the direction of Don McKee. During that time, he earned many other accolades, including 3-time team captain of the CHL All-Star team and the CHL Man of the Year for Community Involvement. Most recently, Hillman has worked as the President/Owner of Next Level Sports.
Hillman said Friday he was excited about getting on the ice.
"There's no doubt, the first day on the ice -- that's when everything comes together, and then from there it's the first drop of the puck for a league game," Hillman said. "Those are the two things I'm most anxious for. Once we get those players into camp, that's when I'm gonna feel most at home."
Naming a new head coach is one of the many important steps that the Ice Bears organization has taken recently to improve the outlook of the organization and the upcoming season. “We have worked hard over the past few years to develop a loyal fan base and educate people that hockey exists in Knoxville. It is now time to ensure that our organization is first class. We want our staffing changes to have a direct, positive impact on the atmosphere of the games and the level of play demonstrated within our team,” says Mike Murray, Ice Bears President & General Manager.
Assistant Coach Marc Rodgers had this to say about the new hire. “I am very pleased that the Ice Bears have hired a new coach and are moving forward toward a great season. First impressions are very big in life, and mine in particular. And with that said, Scott Hillman has made a very good first impression with me. He is very enthusiastic, professional and knowledgeable. Which again are all great traits to have. I will work very closely with him and help him has much as he wants. He will pick up where Mike Murray and I have left with the players and the team.”
Scott Hillman will step in immediately to continue the recruiting process. Currently, nine players from last year’s team have agreed to return. Overall, the Ice Bears will invite an estimated 25 players to training camp, which is scheduled to begin on October 15.