Blue Jackets Name Chris Clark Monsters' General Manager, Mike Eaves Named Sixth Head Coach in Monsters Franchise History
Clark takes reigns for Cleveland following seven seasons in Blue Jackets player development, former University of Wisconsin bench boss joins Monsters for 35th coaching campaign
The AHL’s Cleveland Monsters announced Tuesday that the team’s NHL affiliate, the Columbus Blue Jackets, named Blue Jackets Director of Player Personnel Chris Clark general manager of the Monsters and signed Mike Eaves to a multi-year contract to become the sixth head coach in Monsters franchise history.
Clark, 43, a native of South Windsor, CT, was selected by Calgary in the third round (77th overall) of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft and posted 103-111-214 with 700 penalty minutes and a -48 rating in 607 career NHL games spanning parts of 12 seasons from 1999-2011 with Calgary, the Washington Capitals and the Blue Jackets, serving as Washington’s captain four times from 2006-10. Clark also spent parts of four seasons in the AHL with the Saint John Flames (1998-01) and Providence Bruins (2011-12) and helped Saint John claim the 2001 Calder Cup Championship. Clark’s collegiate career spanned four years at Clarkson University from 1994-98 where Clark served as the Golden Knights’ captain during his senior season. Following his retirement, Clark served as a scout with the Blue Jackets during the 2011-12 season before embarking on a seven-year stint as a Development Coach and Director of Player Development for Columbus from 2012-19 prior to his promotion to Director of Player Personnel earlier this month.
“Chris has spent a great deal of time over the past several years working with players throughout our organization, including those in the American Hockey League, and his thorough understanding of player personnel and the league make him the perfect choice to serve as the general manager of our AHL affiliate,” said Blue Jackets Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations/Associate General Manager/Alternate Governor Bill Zito. “Chris’ familiarity with our organization, combined with Mike Eaves’ long and successful history of working with young players, will provide our organization with great leadership that will benefit our players in Cleveland.”
A native of Denver, CO, Eaves, 63, joins the Monsters following 34 seasons of professional and collegiate coaching, including the last 17 years in the collegiate ranks with Minnesota’s St. Olaf College (2016-19) and a 14-year stint with Eaves’ alma mater, the University of Wisconsin (2002-16), during which Eaves led the Badgers to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, two national championship games and the 2006 NCAA title. Eaves served as an assistant coach at the NHL level during parts of seven seasons with the Calgary Flames (1985-86), the Philadelphia Flyers (1988-90, 1993-94) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (1997-00) and spent three seasons as an AHL head coach with the Hershey Bears from 1990-93.
Eaves’ first head coaching stint came with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire during the 1986-87 season which led to one year as an assistant coach at St. Cloud State University in 1987-88 before Eaves assumed head coaching duties at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, MN for two seasons (1994-96) and later became the head coach of HIFK Helsinki in Finland’s Liiga for the 1996-97 campaign. Eaves also served as the head coach of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, MI for two seasons from 2000-02. Eaves’ international coaching career with Team USA included stints as head coach at the 2001 and 2002 IIHF U18 World Junior Championships, an historic Gold Medal turn as head coach at the 2004 IIHF U20 World Junior Championships and a head coaching assignment at the 2006 IIHF World Championships.
“Mike Eaves has won an NCAA championship, world junior championship gold medal and developed numerous players that have gone on to play in the National Hockey League over the course of his 30-year coaching career,” said Clark. “He brings great passion and experience to our organization and I am looking forward to working closely with him to develop our players and bring the Calder Cup back to Cleveland.”
During his playing career, Eaves, a right-handed forward, was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the seventh round (113th overall) of the 1976 NHL Entry Draft and spent eight seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars and Calgary from 1979-86 posting 83-143-226 with 80 penalty minutes and a +25 rating. During a decorated collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin from 1974-78, Eaves claimed First-Team All-American honors twice (1977, 1978), served as the Badgers’ captain three times, led Wisconsin to the 1977 NCAA title and with 267 career points, remains the Badgers’ top scorer in program history.