The Quad City Mallards of the “AA” Central Hockey League today named David Bell the Mallards’ new head coach and general manager.
“I am excited to be moving to the Quad Cities and look forward to getting to know the community,” said Bell. “We are going to work hard to put a quality product on the ice for the fans of the Quad Cities to enjoy.”
Bell, 34, spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach in the professional and junior ranks. He served as an assistant with the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts for the last two seasons. Last year he worked alongside Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuck, the Colts’ head coach. In 2009-10 Bell helped steer Barrie to the OHL regular season title and an Eastern Conference championship as the club eclipsed franchise records for most wins (57) and points (116) in a single season. Prior to that, the Wiarton, Ontario, native enjoyed a two-year stint behind the bench of the American Hockey League’s Springfield Falcons. Bell began his coaching career with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack, for whom he was an assistant from 2004 to 2007.
Before stepping behind the bench, Bell, a defenseman, enjoyed a seven-year professional playing career during which he scored 29 goals, produced 114 points and accumulated 1,188 penalty minutes while skating in 465 games for nine teams in the ECHL, AHL, United Hockey League, and West Coast Hockey League. In 2001-02 he captained the Greenville Grrrowl to the ECHL Kelly Cup title.
“David is a disciplined, motivated and successful person,” said Jon Pritchett, CEO of CLUB 9 SPORTS, the Mallards’ ownership group. “He has dedicated himself to the sport of hockey as a player and as a coach. He has all of the traits necessary to be successful. He has paid his dues as a player and as an assistant coach in the ECHL, OHL, AHL and UHL and we’re delighted that his first head coaching job comes here in the Quad Cities.”
Bell broke into pro hockey at the end of the 1997-98 season with the ECHL’s Louisville RiverFrogs. He spent the following season- his first full pro campaign- in the same league with the Miami Matadors. Bell played for three different teams in 1999-2000- the Falcons of the AHL, the B.C. Icemen of the UHL and the Greenville Grrrowl of the ECHL. Bell returned to the Grrrowl in 2000-01- a campaign that also saw him take to the ice for a trio of AHL clubs- the Falcons, Portland Pirates and St. John Flames- before hoisting the Kelly Cup in his third season with the Grrrowl. He headed west to suit up for the WCHL’s Bakersfield Condors in 2002-03 and established a personal single season high in points (30) while wrapping up his playing career with the UHL’s Port Huron Beacons in 2003-04.
“Having first watched him as a player, I can tell you that no one will display more hustle, toughness and determination than David,” said Pritchett.
Before turning pro, Bell played for the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s for four seasons and served as team captain for each of his final two junior campaigns. While wearing the “C” in 1996-97, Bell led the 67’s to the regular season league title and a berth in the OHL Robertson Cup finals. The following season he captained Ottawa to a division title.
Bell and his wife Brooke will move to the Quad Cities this summer. Bell’s son and daughter reside in Canada.
It was further announced that Byron Rucker of CLUB 9 SPORTS will act as a special advisor to the general manager. Rucker has better than 25 years of experience in professional sports management.
In addition, the Mallards also announced today the formation of the Quad City Mallards Community Advisory Board, which will provide guidance, advice and support in an effort to maximize the visibility and success of the Mallards in the community. Former Mallard standout Kerry Toporowski- one of two players in team history to have his number retired- was named the first member of the Advisory Board. Toporowski played 236 games for the Mallards over six seasons between 1997 and 2004 and was part of title-winning Quad City squads in 1998 and 2001. Toporowski finished his career as the Mallards’ all-time leader in penalty minutes (1,338). Further members of the advisory board will be announced in the future.