SUDBURY, Ont. – Former NHL player Mike Foligno has stepped down as head coach and general manager of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury Wolves.
In a statement released Tuesday, Foligno said he met with Wolves owner Mark Burgess and told him he felt it was time for a change.
“After seven years at the helm of the Sudbury Wolves, I feel that the time is right to take a step back and give someone else a chance to run this team,” Foligno said in a statement.
Foligno will remain with the team as its director of hockey development.
“For the past few years, we have identified a need for someone to closely follow the progress of our drafted players, provide additional on-ice instruction and identify free agent players that may be able to step into our lineup,” said Foligno.
“I am looking forward to this new challenge and will continue with my personal efforts to help the Sudbury Wolves build a championship team.”
The Wolves are coming off a sub-par season that saw them finish 26-35-7, good for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Their playoff run was a short one, as they were swept in the first round by the conference-leading Barrie Colts.
Foligno, a Sudbury native, played 1,018 NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers. He began his coaching career in 1996 as an assistant with the Leafs before occupying the same role with the Colorado Avalanche.
He coached the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League for five seasons before being hired by the Wolves in 2003. In seven seasons with Sudbury, Foligno led the team to six post-season appearances.
Foligno originally stepped away from his coaching post last August, but returned in October after the Wolves got off to a 4-8-1 start under Bryan Verreault.
Foligno’s oldest son, Nick, plays with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, while youngest son Marcus is a winger with the Wolves.
Sudbury president Blaine Smith said the team will begin the process of finding a replacement for Foligno this week.
“Mike Foligno has been an exceptional leader for the Sudbury Wolves for the past seven years,” said Smith. “We are pleased that Mike will remain with us and continue to provide his expertise and experience to our organization.”