Ryane Clowe is fourth on the all time list of NHL players born in Newfoundland and Labrador by games played. He was born in Fermeuse, and according to a report in the local press there, one of the province’s most famous sons is coming home to take over the Newfoundland Growlers, the ECHL expansion franchise and affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Telegram has the scoop:

Clowe, who was just inducted into the Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame last weekend, joins the Growlers after a two-year stint as an assistant coach with the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils.

Clowe will be employed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will be affiliated with the Growlers next season. That arrangement was made official during a news conference last week in St. John’s.

Clowe, 35, was forced to retire from hockey due to multiple concussions and the lingering effects of the brain injuries associated with them.

“Based on the recommendation of doctors and the latest incident on Nov. 6 and the result of the injuries and the concussions, he’s going to be unable to play hockey now or hockey in the future,” Shero said, via NorthJersey.com’s Tom Gulitti. “For me getting to know Ryane over the last two months in particular, he’s a proud player, he’s a proud person. This has been very difficult for him and knowing he’s given this a lot of time to try to play and seeing the doctors to try to get back to play, the conclusion that he’s unable to play hockey now or in the future.”

In the span of roughly 19 months, Clowe suffered four separate head injuries which sidelined him for a combined 119 games. Clowe’s trouble with head injuries began in April 2013, shortly after being acquired by the New York Rangers from the San Jose Sharks. After his initial injury, he suffered another blow to the head in May 2013 that kept him out the remainder of the post-season.

Clowe, who has been on LTIR for three years, just saw his last contract expire this summer. He has served as an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils for the last two seasons.

Prior to that, he played for the Sharks and the Rangers before joining the Devils.  He played two and a half seasons in the AHL after he finished junior hockey, but he never played a game in a lower-level league. The ECHL will be a new experience for him.

This hiring is not yet official, but we expect it to be soon, as the ECHL is in the midst of signing their free agents, and they have only until the end of June to get that done.  While the Leafs will supply the Growlers with many players on AHL two-way contracts, all ECHL teams have to fill in the gaps with their own players.