By Bill Hoppe
The Rochester Americans’ coaching staff will feature a popular old friend and an unfamiliar name.
Jay McKee, a rugged former Sabres defenseman, and Chadd Cassidy, who worked under Americans coach Ron Rolston at USA Hockey, will be named assistant coaches for the AHL club at a news conference this morning in Rochester, according to several reports.
McKee was a volunteer assistant coach at Niagara University in 2010-11 after his 14-year NHL career ended. Cassidy spent the last five seasons as an assistant in Team USA’s National Development Program. The Lake Placid native also coached at the National Sports Academy and at SUNY Potsdam and Cortland.
No one on the three-man staff has any professional coaching experience. McKee, however, played 802 NHL games, including 582 contests with the Sabres from 1996 to 2006. The 33-year-old, the 14th overall pick in 1995, also played three seasons in St. Louis and a final one in Pittsburgh in 2009-10. He still lives in Buffalo.
The Sabres, who purchased the Americans two months ago, named Rolston coach in July. The Portland Pirates had served as the team’s affiliate for three seasons. Kevin Dineen, the Pirates’ coach, took Florida’s job earlier this offseason. Eric Weinrich, his assistant, works as a scout and in player development for the Sabres now.