Mike Madill played for the only two coaches the Wranglers have had. Today, the former Las Vegas defenseman and team captain will be introduced as the third coach and general manager in the ECHL franchise’s 10-year history, a team source who requested anonymity said.
“He’s such a good guy,” the source said. “He’s a natural leader, and players love playing with him.”
The 30-year-old Madill, who is retiring after a seven-year playing career — five of his past six seasons were spent with the Wranglers — will replace Ryan Mougenel, who guided the team to its second Kelly Cup Finals appearance in 2012.
Las Vegas was ousted in the first round of the playoffs this year for the third time in Mougenel’s four seasons, and the team announced Tuesday that he would not be offered a new contract.
When Mougenel was told Thursday that Madill would replace him, he was more than gracious.
“Mike Madill’s one of my favorite people I’ve ever come across,” he said. “They’re in great hands. I’m thrilled for Mike. It makes things a lot easier (for me to accept). I love Mike Madill.
“I’m real excited for Mike. It’s a great opportunity for him.”
Mougenel, who compiled a 151-111-26 record in four seasons in Las Vegas, said he had encouraged Madill to become a coach.
“I think he would be an amazing coach because he’s an amazing human, and that’s the most important thing,” Mougenel said. “He’ll do amazing. He’ll do a good job of recruiting a lot of kids I’ve had here, because the kids here are great people.
“That’s the common denominator. We’ve had great people here, and I’m real proud of that.”
Madill didn’t return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.
A Kirkland, Quebec, native who played four seasons for St. Lawrence University, Madill was named an ECHL All-Star in his rookie year of 2006-07 with the now-defunct Texas Wildcatters.
He played for the Wranglers under Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan from 2007 to 2010, helping them to their first Kelly Cup Finals appearance in 2008, when they lost to Cincinnati in six games.
After spending the 2010-11 season in Japan, Madill returned to the Wranglers for 2011-12, helping them to the ECHL Finals, where they fell to Florida in five games.
Madill, who will turn 31 on May 9, has made his home in Las Vegas. He’s married to Las Vegas native Autumn Belanger, who sings in the Stratosphere show “Pin Up” after previously performing in the defunct “American Superstars” and “Bite” at the hotel.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com or 702-383-0354.