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Indy Fuel names coach

Statement as issued Tuesday by the Indy Fuel:

INDIANAPOLIS - Sean Hallett, President of the Indy Fuel, today announced the signing of Scott Hillman to a multi-year agreement to become the first head coach of the ECHL’s newest team. Hillman, 40, recently completed a successful five season stint as head coach of the Missouri Mavericks of the Central Hockey League, leading the team to the CHL’s regular season championship in 2013-14. During his tenure in Missouri, the Mavericks qualified for the playoffs every season and compiled an impressive .607 winning percentage as an expansion franchise.

“Coach Hillman is a rising star in professional hockey,” said Hallett. “His experience coaching a new franchise to immediate success and his commitment to building a winning culture make him the perfect fit as the Fuel’s head coach.”

Prior to joining the Mavericks in 2010, Hillman was head coach for the Knoxville Ice Bears of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) where he led the team to two consecutive championships in the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons and was named the SPHL Coach of the Year in 2008-2009.

“I’m honored to be named head coach of the Indy Fuel,” said Coach Hillman. “Indianapolis is known as a great sports city, and this community has been waiting for professional hockey to return for way too long. As the coach, my goal is to create an environment that allows the young men on our roster to grow as players and people – our staff will give them every opportunity to excel and give our fans a disciplined, hard-working team that they can be proud of on and off the ice.”

Before coaching, Coach Hillman also had an excellent nine-season professional career. An offensive defenseman, he was named the 2001-2002 CHL Man of the Year, was a four-time CHL All Star, and retired as the Odessa Jackalopes’ all time leader in games played (446) and assists (260). His offensive prowess also earned him distinction as the second leading scorer in club history with 326 points, and he ranks among the top scoring defensemen in CHL history.

“As a coach and a player, Scott Hillman has displayed a commitment to excellence and a deep passion for the sport of hockey,” added Hallett. “He’ll be an inspirational leader in our locker room, and he also wants to be involved in our community – he’ll help us support the growth of hockey here in Indianapolis and is a great fit with our organization.”

Coach Hillman will be moving to Indianapolis with his wife and two sons in early June, as the franchise builds its roster during the summer. A native of LaSalle, Ontario, he graduated from the University of Windsor and later received a Master of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Texas. Hillman was the leading scoring defenseman in University of Windsor Lancer history; he led the Lancers to two consecutive trips to the National Championship Tournament while being named a 1999 1st Team All-Canadian.

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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