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Who Have New Barracuda Coaches Mass, Hagel Helped Develop?



Credit: Seattle Thunderbirds

John McCarthy has found his assistant coaches.

This morning, the San Jose Barracuda announced that Louis Mass and Kyle Hagel would be joining McCarthy behind the bench. Mass and Hagel are making their AHL coaching debuts with the Barracuda in the upcoming season and bring strong track records of player development from their time coaching in the Western Hockey League.

Mass and Hagel are already at it — both were on the ice during the San Jose Sharks development camp, as noted by San Jose Hockey Now last Friday:

Sharks Development Camp: Are Hagel, Mass New Barracuda Assistant Coaches?

Louis Mass comes to the Barracuda from the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. During the four years Mass has been with the Silvertips organization, the team has claimed the WHL’s US Division title three times (2019, 2021, 2022). Throughout his time with the Silvertips, Mass has developed one of the strongest bluelines in the WHL.

Mass has played a part in developing multiple defensemen drafted into the NHL over the last four seasons: 2018 Wyatt Wylie (Rd. 5, Pk. 127, Philadelphia Flyers), 2019 Gianni Fairbrother (Rd. 3, Pk. 77, Montreal Canadiens), 2020 Kasper Puuto (Rd. 5, Pk. 153 Florida Panthers), 2020 Ronan Seeley (Rd. 7, Pk. 208 Carolina Hurricanes), and 2021 Olen Zellweger (Rd. 2, Pk. 34 Anaheim Ducks)

Let’s not forget Jake Christiansen either, who signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent in March of 2020. Christiansen appeared in eight games for the Blue Jackets in the 2021-22 season, picking up his first goal and another 45 points in 62 games with the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters.

And under Mass, Zelleweger led all CHL defensemen in scoring during the 2021-22 season, putting up 78 points (14G, 64A) in 55 games in the league’s first full season since 2018-19. The season would also see Zelleweger claim the franchise’s record for points by a defenseman.

Mass himself finished his playing career in 2006, after spending six seasons in the ECHL. Prior to his four seasons coaching with the Silvertips, Mass coached three years of NCAA hockey at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, and in the ECHL coaching for the Alaska Aces for the five years before that.

Interesting enough, Mass had signed a multi-year extension with the Silvertips just over one year ago.

Kyle Hagel also comes to the Barracuda by way of the WHL’s US Division, just about an hour away, having spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

In the 2021-22 season, Hagel and the Thunderbirds finished atop the WHL’s Western Conference, just two wins away from claiming the Ed Chynoweth Cup as the WHL Champions. The Thunderbirds pulled together a resilient playoff run, claiming back-to-back Game Seven wins against the Portland Winterhawks and Kamloops Blazers.

The Thunderbirds saw four players selected in the 2022 NHL Draft, including two in the first round (Kevin Korchinski, Pk. 7, Chicago Blackhawks and Reid Schaefer, Pk. 32, Edmonton Oilers). Korchinski is a feather in Hagel’s cap. Hagel also had a big hand in the development of Tyrel Bauer, Winnipeg’s sixth-round pick in 2020.

“He was the assistant coach in charge of defense, penalty kill, and also ran our strength and conditioning program,” Thunderbirds assistant GM Jared Crooks told San Jose Hockey Now.

Hagel’s knowledge of strength and conditioning is an intriguing add to any development program.

Hagel spent the nine years before joining the Thunderbirds coaching staff in the AHL as a player. He spent time playing as both a forward and a defenseman, 450 games of professional hockey split between the AHL and ECHL under his belt.

When Hagel got hired by Thunderbirds in 2017, Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette mentioned Hagel having the type of character the club was looking for, a similar sentiment that has been stated time and time again in all of the hockey ops and player searches the San Jose Sharks organization have made in recent weeks.

Two fun Hagel connections to the Barracuda? He was hired by the Thunderbirds at the same time as Castan Sommer, son of former Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer, was. Castan Sommer is now an assistant coach at Holy Cross.

Also, San Jose Sharks’ 2019 second-round pick Dillon Hamaliuk played under Hagel in Seattle.

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