SAN ANTONIO, TX – The St. Louis Blues today announced that Drew Bannister has been named head coach of the San Antonio Rampage, marking the beginning of a five-year affiliation between the two clubs. The Sudbury, Ontario native joins San Antonio as the first head coach in the Blues-Rampage era.
Bannister, 44, led the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to a franchise-best 55-7-3-3 mark in 2018, and a Hamilton Spectator Trophy as the OHL’s regular season champion. The Greyhounds also earned the Bumbacco Trophy as West Division winners, and posted a 23-game winning streak en route to the OHL Finals. In addition to the team’s success, Bannister was awarded the OHL’s 2017-2018 Coach of the Year and was named the Canadian Hockey League’s 2017-2018 Coach of the Year.
“I’m incredibly appreciative of the opportunity that the Blues and Rampage have afforded me,” said Bannister. “I want to express my gratitude to all of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound staff members, players and ownership. I look forward to instilling a winning culture in San Antonio as we continue to develop the young and talented players in the St. Louis system.”
Bannister’s teams have made the playoffs each of the six seasons since his coaching career began in 2012. In three seasons as head coach of the Greyhounds, he accumulated an overall record of 136-50-13-5. Prior to joining the Greyhounds, Bannister spent three seasons as an assistant coach for the Owen Sound Attack (OHL).
“We are very excited to have Drew join our organization,” said St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong. “He has proven himself over the past few seasons in the OHL and will be a perfect fit as we continue to develop our prospects through our affiliation with San Antonio.”
Bannister played 18 seasons of professional hockey, collecting 361 points (89g/272a) in 888 games with 17 different teams throughout eight separate leagues. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the 1992 NHL Draft (26th overall), the 6-foot-2 defenseman made 164 NHL appearances with the Lightning, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and New York Rangers. Bannister also spent four seasons in the AHL, winning a Calder Cup Championship with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2000.
San Antonio enters a five-year affiliation agreement with St. Louis beginning in the 2018-19 season, making the Rampage the top development affiliate for the Blues. St. Louis will be San Antonio’s fourth NHL affiliate in the team’s 16-year history. San Antonio was previously affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche from 2015-18, the Florida Panthers from 2002-05 and 2011-15, and the Arizona Coyotes from 2005-11.
For more information visit sarampage.com.