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A scrappy Mark Holick takes over as Crunch coach

A fighter not a finesser

Mark Holick is more of a fighter than a finesser.

A quick glance at his stats from four seasons as a minor-league right winger paint a vivid picture of a pugnacious hockey player:

In parts of four campaigns with Adirondack, Louisville and Dallas, Holick skated in 142 games netting 30 goals, making 43 assists. He also earned a whopping 635 penalty minutes.

That scrappy player has since emerged as an award-winning coach over 16 hard-fought seasons.

Last week, the Syracuse Crunch introduced Holick as the team's new head coach. He replaces Ross Yates, who helmed the home team from 2006 through 2010.

Holick's hiring was engineered by Bob Murray, general manager of the Anaheim Ducks which takes over this year as the Crunch's NHL parent club.

Anaheim is the local American Hockey League club's third affiliate in 16 years. In its first six seasons, the Crunch was overseen by the Vancouver Canucks, while the Columbus Blue Jackets hung on for the last ten years.

Murray and Crunch President Howard Dolgon also welcomed a new assistant coach at a June 15 press conference at downtown's War Memorial.

Mike Stapleton replaces former assistant coach Trent Cull, recently hired as head coach of the Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League. Yates is apparently still seeking work for 2010-11.

Holick, 41, was named the Western Hockey League's Coach of the Year after leading the Kootenay Ice to a 43-24-3-2 record (W-L-OTL-SOL) during the 2009-10 season in British Columbia.

Over the last three seasons the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native compiled a 120-75-10-11 record while leading Kootenay to the WHL playoffs all three years.

Before being hired by Kootaney, Holick spent 13 seasons coaching in both the British Columbia Hockey League and Alberta Junior Hockey League. Prior to coaching, he played in 165 WHL games and then spent parts 1989-94 with Adirondack (AHL), Louisville (ECHL) and Dallas (CHL), appearing in 142 games.

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