The Buffalo Sabres filled their American Hockey League coaching vacancy on Tuesday by tapping into familiarity.
Randy Cunneyworth, most recently the Sabres development coach, has been named head coach of the Rochester Americans, a franchise he guided to 306 victories during an eight-year stint that concluded in 2008.
Said Sabres General Manager Tim Murray in a Amerks news release: “Randy has already established himself as a valuable member of our hockey department in his previous role as development coach, and his track record for winning in the AHL and developing young players make him the ideal candidate to lead the Amerks.”
Cunneyworth coached Rochester from 2000-01 through 2007-08, accumulating the second-most wins in franchise history and earning recognition as the league’s top coach in 2004-05. He departed in ‘08 to join John Anderson’s staff with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers. Cunneyworth became an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens in 2011-12 and was elevated to interim head coach for the final 50 games (18-23-9).
Cunneyworth’s ties to Rochester long predate his coaching tenure. A Sabres draft pick, he was assigned to the team in 1980-81 and totaled 239 points as he spent parts of seven seasons with the franchise, a run that included a 1982-83 Calder Cup championship. He would go on to play 13 seasons in the NHL with Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Hartford, Chicago and Ottawa, where he was team captain for three seasons.