Brian Gratz Named Head Coach of Bloomington BlazePosted:
Bloomington, Ill - The Bloomington Blaze have named Brian Gratz as head coach for the team's second season in the Class AA Central Hockey League.
In four seasons as a head coach at the professional level, Gratz has taken his team to post-season play three times with the only exception being the past season's Dayton Gems squad that was decimated by injuries throughout the entire campaign. Of the three teams he led to playoff berths, two earned league championships, including the Indiana Ice Miners in the Mid-American Hockey League in 2008 and the Jersey Rockhoppers of the Eastern Professional Hockey League in 2009. While in Indiana, Gratz led the way to a professional hockey record 26-game winning streak on the way to an overall record of 31-1-0. After a season as the head goaltending coach at his alma mater Penn State, Gratz entered the Central Hockey League as the head coach of the Dayton Gems for the past two seasons. Gratz owns a career record of 118-78-21 as a head coach at the professional level.
Gratz was a goaltender on four American Collegiate Hockey Association national championship teams at Penn State, and spent the next five seasons as a goalie in minor league hockey. After his playing days, Gratz began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach for the ECHL's Reading Royals in 2006-07.
"Brian brings a solid understanding of what it takes to be successful in the Central Hockey League," said Blaze President and General Manager David Holt. "His teams have consistently displayed a high level of toughness and he has a history of success. Brian knows pro hockey, particularly the CHL, very well and that knowledge combined with his enthusiasm will serve the Blaze and our fans on and off the ice very well."
Gratz is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana and will turn 31 on July 9.
Plans are also being developed to debut a Tier III junior hockey team for the upcoming season that will be operated by the Blaze organization in addition to the parent Central Hockey League club. The team will be comprised of players in their late teens and early twenties who are attempting to land spots on college and/or professional teams. Details will be announced after they are finalized.
Season tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available for the upcoming 2012-13 Bloomington Blaze season. For more information, call the Blaze office at 309-434-2980. Blaze fans can also follow the team on Facebook, Twitter (BLMBlaze) and at www.bloomingtonblaze.com.