With the San Jose Barracuda’s 3-1 victory over the Colorado Eagles this afternoon, the American Hockey League announced that Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer has clinched the honor of coaching Team Pacific at the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts this January.
The win gives the ‘Cuda a record of 18-5-4 and 40 points, putting them four points ahead of the second seeded Tuscon Roadrunners in the Pacific title race. And much like the NHL’s All-Star Game format, the AHL gives the coaching reigns at their annual showcase to the coaches of the division leaders on Dec. 31. With Tuscon unable to pass the Barracuda before New Year’s Eve, the 61-year-old Sommer has already guaranteed his ticket to Springfield with four days to spare.
While being named the coach at a league’s all-star tournament will be a mere footnote in his career, it is a much-deserved tribute to what the Oakland native and his squad have accomplished this season. The Barracuda might not have the most stacked lineup in the AHL when it comes to blue chip prospects or players with NHL experience, but Sommer has managed to put together one of the most incredibly balanced lineups in the AHL. Among the Barracuda roster, 14 players have already notched 10 points this season, including four rookies and six players that have 15 points or more.
This season has been the proof of why Sommer has the most wins in AHL history, all of which have come during his 21 years coaching the Sharks’ top affiliate. But it also shows what truly drives the ‘Cuda coach — after so many years of success, you have to assume that numerous NHL job offers have come his way, and yet he’s chosen to stay with the San Jose organization for almost a quarter of a decade.
All that’s missing in Sommer’s trophy case is a Calder Cup title, and it sure seems like he’s not going anywhere until he wins one. This year, the Barracuda have more than proven they’re a serious championship contender, and if all goes well, Roy’s trip to the All-Star Classic won’t be the only honor he earns before the 2018-19 campaign ends.