(photo: USHL/ Marshall Art Photography)

The ECHL Toledo Walleye struggled during the 2014-2015 season, putting together only 21 wins over the 72 game regular season. Former Head Coach Nick Vitucci became infamous for putting his team through an epic bag skate after a humiliating 7-0 loss back in November so the writing was on the wall for a coaching change once the season was through.

The Walleye are excited to welcome Derek Lalonde as the team’s new head coach. Lalonde was introduced during a press conference on Monday morning at the Huntington Center in downtown Toledo.

“We want to build great things here in Toledo, build a culture of success.” Lalonde has been head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) since 2011, compiling a record of 111-54-14, guiding the team to both regular season and playoff championships in 2011-12, and was USHL Coach of the Year in 2012. He was also Head Coach of Team USA’s U19 National Team which captured gold at the World Junior A Challenge in November of 2013.

Joe Napoli, Toledo Walleye president and general manager, says Lalonde was the one who stood out during a very rigorous interviewing process. “We were thrilled with the quality of candidates we interviewed, both nationally and internationally.”

Lalonde’s coaching experience includes being assistant coach at the University of Denver (2006-2011), Ferris State University (2002-2006), Hamilton College (2000-2002), Lebanon Valley College (1998-2000), and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (1995-1998). He played collegiate hockey at Cortland State University in Cortland, New York from 1991-1995 as a goaltender. He’s married to his wife Melissa, and has two sons, Alex (8), Luke (5) and a daughter Abby (3).

A West Coast girl, born and raised in the Bay Area in the most non-traditional Hockey Market you could imagine for a long time... When the Sharks came to town it changed the Bay Area hockey landscape forever. Her first love will always be the Red Wings but she has embraced the Sharks since their debut in 1991. She has a passion for minor league grind-it-out-in the-corners hockey. Her heart broke when the ECHL Bulls folded , but luckily the Stockton Thunder are still close enough for her to get her gritty-hockey fix. Besides watching hockey, she is an American Tribal Style belly-dancer and trolls the blue-line, playing defence in a local rec hockey league... A somehow strange but balanced juxtaposition.

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