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Meet the Corpus Christi IceRays’ New Head Coach

The Corpus Christi IceRays formally introduced new head coach Ryan Cruthers at a news conference in the city June 6. Cruthers is the fifth head coach in the team’s 20-year history. Courtesy photos

As sidewalks sizzle, the Corpus Christi IceRays stay chill while heating up the hires for the next hockey season, starting with a new coach. Ryan Cruthers takes over as head coach of the city’s North American Hockey League team — the fifth head coach in the team’s 20 years. The same week welcomed in hockey team drafts, a precursor to putting a new 30-man team on the ice for the 2018 IceRays main camp in July.

“Ryan Cruthers is a terrific fit for our organization,” IceRays general manager Michael Wood said. “He’s been a leader at every step of his hockey career. His players will immediately see a coach who is devoted to helping them to be the best they can be both on and off the ice.”

The 33-year-old Cruthers comes to the IceRays after finishing the 2017-18 season with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League. He was head coach and assistant general manager for the Steel, beginning in January. He led the team to its first postseason and First Round Series victories. He spent nearly two seasons as head coach and general manager of the Charlotte Rush in the U.S. Premier Hockey League, where he led his team to the 2017 championship.

Cruthers played as a professional for eight years, including 32 games in the American Hockey League. His college career took him from Robert Morris University to Army West Point, where he said he learned accountability and the value of hard work.

Cruthers plans to pick up where former head coach Brad Flynn left off with the IceRays. The team finished the 2017-18 season with its second straight postseason berth for the first time in franchise history.

“On the ice, fans are going to see a passionate group of players that will never have a question as to our work ethic and how badly we want to win,” Cruthers said. “And they’ll see a team that’s going to get better over the year. My goal is to bring a Robertson Cup to Corpus Christi, develop our players, and move them on. I hope it’s long-lasting, I hope to build something big here, and I think we will.”

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