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BREAKING: McCarthy Named Barracuda Head Coach, Sommer Becomes Senior Adviser

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Credit: San Jose Barracuda

The San Jose Sharks have been a franchise full of constants over the years.

For most of the last three decades, you could count on Patrick Marleau speeding up and down the ice in teal. GM Doug Wilson going big game hunting. And Roy Sommer behind the bench, developing Sharks prospects.

But it’s clearly a new era for the San Jose Sharks: After playing 21 of his 23 seasons in San Jose, Marleau officially retired last week. After 19 years as GM, Wilson stepped down in April for health reasons. And after 24 years as San Jose’s AHL head coach, Sommer has just been shifted to senior adviser.

In Sommer’s place, John McCarthy will take over as head coach of the Barracuda. The 35-year-old has been a development coach for the Barracuda for the last two years, also serving as assistant coach for part of 2019-20.

McCarthy was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the seventh round in 2006, and carved out a lengthy professional career, highlighted by 88 NHL games, five seasons as the captain of either the Worcester Sharks or Barracuda, and suiting up for USA at the 2018 Olympics.

“John McCarthy is a natural fit as the next head coach of the San Jose Barracuda,” San Jose Sharks interim general manager Joe Will said in a Barracuda press release. “His leadership skills and professionalism, matched with his hockey IQ, have allowed him to succeed throughout his long and distinguished career with the Sharks and Barracuda. These traits, which he showed extensively as part of our player development staff over the last two years, will be a great asset for our developing players.”

It’s going to be big shoes for McCarthy to fill though: Sommer is the AHL’s winningest coach with 808 wins, well ahead of second-place Bun Cook’s 636. In fact, counting Sommer’s successful stint as ECHL head coach in the early ‘90s, he was just 16 victories away from 1,000 professional ice hockey wins as a head coach.

Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc, Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle, Thomas Greiss, Jason Demers, Justin Braun, Miikka Kiprusoff, Evgeni Nabokov, Jonathan Cheechoo, Ryan Clowe, and Douglas Murray are among the Sharks who played under Sommer.

“Roy is a legendary figure in hockey and his accomplishments both on the ice and in player development speak for themselves,” Will offered. “We thank him for nearly a quarter-century behind the bench of the Barracuda and the Sharks, and we are excited that he will remain a part of our organization moving forward.”

Sommer isn’t the only change behind the Barracuda bench. Assistant coach Jimmy Bonneau, assistant coach Mike Chiasson, and goaltending coach Dany Sabourin will also be moving on.

Bonneau will stay with the San Jose Sharks organization as a pro scout; Chiasson is joining CAA as an agent; and Sabourin has decided to return closer to his Quebec home.

Video coach Nick Gialdini will remain in his position.

McCarthy’s assistant coaches have yet to be announced.

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Alicia

Wow. Didn’t see that coming. Do we know if this was something that Sommer wanted? Seems like he must have because I absolutely can’t imagine him just being brushed aside. We aren’t Vegas.

Zeke

The problem with the NHL club isn’t the AHL club.

It probably was time for a change and making John McCarthy the HC certainly feels like a good move — hope he’s the right person for the job.

I’m not going to criticize the move, but this isn’t solving any of the Sharks major problems.

Don V

With this kind of turnover, would you consider this a purposeful clearing of the house after a couple rough years, or is it more of a changing of the guard that everybody is using as a reason to look for new opportunities?

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