Barracuda name John McCarthy head coach

A flurry of Barracuda coaching changes were announced on Wednesday morning.

The San Jose Barracuda announced multiple coaching changes on Wednesday morning, the most notable being that longtime head coach Roy Sommer will move into a senior advisory role with the team and that John McCarthy has been named his successor.

“John McCarthy is a natural fit as the next head coach of the San Jose Barracuda,” said San Jose Barracuda general manager Joe Will in a release. “His leadership skills and professionalism, matched with his hockey IQ, have allowed him to succeed throughout his long and distinguished career with the Sharks and Barracuda. These traits, which he showed extensively as part of our player development staff over the last two years, will be a great asset for our developing players.”

Perhaps the most well-known player in Barracuda history, McCarthy spent 13 years in the San Jose Sharks organization, including the first five seasons after the AHL affiliate moved to San Jose, before retiring in the middle of the 2019-20 season due to health issues.

“I am honored to be named the head coach of the San Jose Barracuda,” said McCarthy. “I have been a member of this organization for 13 years and could not be happier to have this opportunity. I’d like to thank the organization for putting their faith in me to lead this group, and I’m excited to get to work on developing the next wave of players for the Sharks.”

Sommer’s new role will work closely with Will on “various scouting and player development efforts in the AHL.”

The Barracuda also announced additional changes behind the bench: Assistant coach Jimmy Bonneau was reassigned to his previous position as a professional scout, while two other coaches will be leaving the organization. Assistant coach Michael Chiasson accepted a role as an agent at CAA Hockey with Pat Brisson and goaltending coach Dany Sabourin resigned from his role in order to be closer to his home in Quebec.

The only hold-over from the coaching staff is video coach and hockey operations manager Nick Gialdini, who remains in his current role.

The Barracuda finished the 2021-22 season at the bottom of the Pacific Division with a 20-42-4-2 record, including a 15-game losing streak to close out the season. After struggling over the last few seasons, changes were necessary. The moves will allow for an influential voice such as Sommer’s to remain in the organization, while giving the Barracuda a somewhat new face behind the bench.

It couldn’t have come at a better time, either, with an influx of young talent such as Ozzy Wiesblatt, Thomas Bordeleau and Danil Gushchin arriving at the professional level just in time for the opening of TechCU Arena, the Barracuda’s new arena at Sharks Ice in San Jose.