Monday, February 3, 2020

Drew Bannister Autographed Card

Drew Bannister was a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning (26th overall in 1992) who ended up playing 164 NHL games with the Bolts (two stints), Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Mighty Ducks (two stints) and New York Rangers, plus nine seasons in Europe, including the final two where he was a player and a coach at the same time.

He had previously won two OHL titles, a Memorial Cup and a gold medal at the 1994 World Juniors with Team Canada, contributing 4 assists in 7 games, which is where card #460 from Pinnacle Brands' 1993-94 Pinnacle set and World Junior Championship sub-set comes in:
As previously mentioned, he spent the 2011-12 season as player-coach of the British League's Braehead Clan, posting 42 points in 51 games but, more importantly, taking the second-year club to 6th place, ahead of established teams like the Hull Stingrays and Edinburgh Capitals, as well as the Dundee Stars and Fife Flyers.

This led to an offer to be assistant coach with the OHL's Owen Sound Attack for thee seasons (2012-15), which was followed by a three-year stint as head coach of the Soo Greyhounds (2015-18), highlighted by an OHL Final loss in 2018. The team's 55-7-3-3 record was a franchise best, paving the way for OHL and CHL Coach Of The Year honours.

It was once again time to graduate to the AHL, and he was named the San Antonio Rampage's first bench boss with their new NHL affiliation to the St. Louis Blues. Despite not making the playoffs last year in his first season with the Rampage and looking like he'll repeat this year, he did oversea pasrts of the season with players such as Samuel Blais, Jordan Schmaltz, Robby Fabbri, Carl Gunnarson and goalie Jordan Binnington, who all had their names engraved on Lord Stanley's salad bowl at season's end.

It's good to remember that the AHL is mostly a Prep League for the NHL, and that while winning a Calder Cup may help teach young players how to win and the pleasure of winning, it should be a place where they finish their development and learn how to be adults living on their own in new cities. Sometimes even AHL coaches seem to forget that winning shouldn't be the end-all of their job descriptions, as Bill Peters can now probably attest to.

That being said, I think Bannister's next step up the ladder would be as an assistant at the NHL level rather than directly being the man in charge.

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