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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Report: Mitch Love named new Stockton Heat head coach

The Calgary Flames have reportedly filled a key role in their organization. According to Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek, the club has hired Saskatoon Blades bench boss Mitch Love as the new head coach of the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat. He replaces Cail MacLean, who was promoted to an assistant coaching gig with the Flames.

Love, 37, is a product of British Columbia who parlayed a relatively unheralded playing career into a pretty promising coaching career.

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He played five seasons as a defenseman in the WHL, suiting up for Moose Jaw, Swift Current and Everett. He went pro in 2005 and was in the AHL at the same time as current Flames captain Mark Giordano – Giordano was with Omaha, Love was with Lowell. Love was a solid if unspectacular AHL defender and played with Lowell, Albany, Lake Erie, Houston and Peoria in the AHL (along with stints with ECHL Johnstown and CHL Bossier-Shreveport) before retiring as a player in 2011.

Love immediately transitioned to coaching. He caught on immediately as an assistant coach with Everett, staying in that role from 2011-18. He moved onto Saskatoon in 2018, serving three seasons as head coach with the Blades. He’s also amassed a good resume with Hockey Canada, coaching as an assistant at the Under-17 Challenge (twice), the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the World Juniors (twice).

In short? Love is an up-and-coming coach the same way that predecessors Ryan Huska and MacLean were when they were hired by the Flames to coach the Heat. He seems to neatly fit the profile the Flames were looking for as they seek to continue strengthening their development program in the AHL.