The Maple Leafs have hired former AHL head coach Spencer Carbery as an assistant coach for the NHL team.
Originally from Victoria, BC, Carbery played in the NCAA III league and then went on to a multi-year career in the ECHL. He finished up wearing the A for the South Carolina Stingrays in 2010. And then he just never left.
He became an assistant coach of the Stingrays the next season, head coach the next, and immediately assumed the role of director of hockey operations. He stayed at the helm of the Stingrays for six years before taking a job in the OHL with the Saginaw Spirit where he coached former Leafs draft pick Keaton Middleton on a team that was always lacking in talent.
One year in the OHL was enough to get him an AHL job with the Providence Bruins as an assistant in 2017. His head coach on that team was Jay Leach, who was just hired as an assistant coach of the Kraken.
Carbery moved on from Providence to take over the bench of the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals (and the Stingrays). His job there was to take the extremely thin prospect pool of a perennial Cup contender and try to develop the occasional star while providing a good team environment for everyone else. Most AHL teams don’t succeed all that well at this task, with the Syracuse Crunch likely the best example of a team that does.
The Bears had finished last in their division in 2018, and in Carbery’s first season they made the playoffs, losing in the second round.
The Bears were good again in the shortened 2019-2020 season, and dominated the large North Division this season, with a win percentage of .758. Carbery won AHL coach of the year for that feat, and his career record on the Bears was 104-50-9-8.
Carbery brings his impressive coaching resume to the Maple Leafs at a time when they have just hired Dean Chynoweth and also have Manny Malhotra on staff. Not yet 40, Carbery looks destined to move into the head coaching ranks of the NHL in time, and the Leafs are where he has chosen to begin the next step in his career.