The Hershey Bears and Washington Capitals announced Thursday that the Bears have hired Todd Nelson to be the franchise’s 28th head coach. He will replace Scott Allen, who was hired by the Capitals as an assistant coach earlier this summer.
"I am extremely excited about working with the Hershey Bears and Washington Capitals," Nelson said in a press release. "Having played in Hershey, I'm aware of the organization's rich history, and I am thrilled to return to the club. Both the Bears and Capitals strive for excellence, and it's an honor to be part of these first-class organizations. I'm looking forward to dropping the puck on the season soon, and I can't wait to get started."
Nelson, 53, played for the Bears in the 1995-96 AHL season, his only with the Bears. He also played two games with the Capitals in the 1993-94 season.
He spent the previous four seasons with the Dallas Stars as an assistant coach and previously was a head coach in the AHL for the Grand Rapids Griffins and Oklahoma City Barons. In 2017, he won the Calder Cup with the Griffins and became the third player in AHL history to win a Calder Cup as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
In total, he’s been a head coach for eight seasons in the AHL and an assistant for three.
The Bears also announced the hirings of assistant coach Nick Bootland, associate goaltending coach Juha Lehtola, and video coach Adam Purner.
“Todd has had an accomplished coaching career featuring multiple championships,” Bears VP of hockey operations Bryan Helmer said. “He's a coach that is driven to win, and he has played a pivotal role in developing a long list of players who have advanced to the National Hockey League. Having played for Todd myself, I know how detailed he is, and he's truly a coach who gets the most out of his players. We’re fortunate to have Todd at the helm, and we’re excited about rounding out his staff with an experienced and decorated group of coaches.”