Longtime San Jose Sharks AHL head coach Roy Sommer came out of retirement and was named the head coach of the Wenatchee Wild on Thursday.
His appointment comes after the first-year Wild fired Kevin Constantine following an indefinite suspension from the Western Hockey League for making “derogatory comments of a discriminatory nature.”
Constantine spent three years as head coach of the San Jose Sharks from 1993 to 1996.
Sommer spent 26 years in the San Jose organization, including 24 years as head coach of their AHL affiliate.
The Oakland native is the winningest coach in AHL history, amassing a record of 828-770-110.
He won 808 of those games serving as head coach of San Jose’s affiliates in Kentucky (1998-01), Cleveland (2001-06), Worcester (2006-15), and the San Jose Barracuda (2015-22). Sommer also served as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks from 1996 to 1998, and during the 2019-20 season.
After being let go by the Sharks in 2022, Sommer coached the Anaheim Ducks’ AHL affiliate, the San Diego Gulls, for a year before announcing his retirement.
“After much thought and discussion with my family, I felt this is the right time to announce my retirement,” Sommer said in April. “I started this career when I was six years old, and I have been in it ever since. I would like to thank the Anaheim Ducks, the San Diego Gulls, and all the fans for their support throughout the entire season.”
The opportunity for Sommer to coach in the same league that gave him an opportunity as a junior player in 1975 and as a coach in 1988 was enough for him to return to coaching just six months later. Sommer spent one year as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Raiders before embarking on a pro coaching career that’s touched five decades.
“I’m looking forward to going back to the Western Hockey League. It’s the league that gave me everything as a player and a coach,” Sommer told Wenatchee World.
“I’ve spent a lot of years at the next level that the players want to get to, and I’m excited about helping our players get to that next level. I’m also excited to be joining the Wenatchee Wild organization as it gets started on its journey in the WHL.”
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