Bandits head coach Ryan Papaioannou named AJHL Coach of the Year

BROOKS, AB (February 28, 2019) – Brooks Bandits head coach and general manager Ryan Papaioannou (Calgary, AB) has won the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) Coach of the Year award for 2018-19, the league announced today.

It is the second time in his coaching career that Papaioannou has received the honour, having first won in 2012-13, in a national championship-winning season in which he also won the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) equivalent of the award.

In his tenth season in the head coach position, Papaioannou has led the team to its most successful regular season campaign ever, setting a new AJHL record for wins (55), consecutive wins (31) and points in the standings (110). The team’s 326 goals scored rank fifth in AJHL history, with two games left to play.

“Coach Papaioannou has been integral to the evolution of our organization into a repeat national contender and this record-breaking season has been a direct result of his remarkable qualities as a coach,” said Bandits President Paul Seaton.  “His tireless efforts, work ethic, dedication to excellence, emotion and determination have been a constant source of inspiration for our staff and players.”

“The effects of his work are not only seen in the team’s winning records and scholarship commitments, but also in the way he has transformed our team into esteemed community ambassadors,” Seaton added. “The respect he commands from his players converts to the collective and unified effort that has been instrumental in our team achievements. We consider him to be a most deserving recipient of this award and are delighted to congratulate him on this recognition by his coaching peers.”

Since taking over the coaching reigns in 2009-10, Papaioannou has recorded more than 400 regular season wins and more than 500 overall wins, leading the team to four AJHL championships. His team has consistently led the AJHL and been among the Canadian Junior A leaders in NCAA Division I commitments as well, with the first two players in team history drafted in the NHL Entry Draft.

The award winner is selected through voting by the AJHL’s 16 head coaches. The Bandits have also clinched the Dave Duchak Trophy as regular season champions for the fourth time in team history, and are expected to clinch the CCM Top Team Goaltenders award, given to the goaltenders playing for the team with the fewest goals against in the league.