The Calgary Flames organization announced on Monday morning that Mitch Love will be the new head coach of the Stockton Heat. The news comes just weeks after former head coach Cail MacLean was promoted to the Flames as an assistant coach. Love returns to the AHL, this time with a different role and purpose.
In his time as a player, Love played in four different leagues including the WHL, AHL, ECHL and CHL. As a 6’0” defenseman, he played a solid 11-year career before joining the personnel side of things in the 2011-12 season when he was hired by the Everett Silvertips as an assistant coach. He played a total 320 games in the WHL and 278 in the AHL. It wasn’t until the 2018-19 season that he landed his first full-time head coaching job with the Saskatoon Blades.
In his parting comments with the media, Mitch Love had nothing but good things to say about his time with Saskatoon and made it clear it will be tough to leave his position after three seasons. He said in his press conference:
“It wasn’t a cut and dry decision. It was very difficult.”
Love’s entire coaching career has been in the WHL, with coaching stints for Team Canada mixed in and has a bit of hardware to back it up. He has medaled in the last two World Junior Championships, including the 2020-21 tournament where he coached Flames prospects Jacob Pelletier and Connor Zary. He is likely to get much more familiar with those two next season, as he is already getting the stamp of approval from both of them.
“Really good coach! Great person, really good at getting guys into the game and treats everybody the same.”
— Stockton Heat (@AHLHeat) July 12, 2021
Love joins the Heat with an impressive resume and glowing references from his former affiliations. Blades President and General Manager Colin Priestner said:
“The sign of a good leader, in my opinion, is someone that leaves something better than they left it and if they’re not there, it doesn’t mean things are going to fall apart and I think Mitch is exemplary of that.”
Love follows up a shortened season for Stockton where they were only able to play 30 games in the Canadian Division. The Heat played this past season out of Calgary, Alberta, but confirmed they will be returning to California when games start up again in October. Love comes in to hopefully improve the record of the team after finishing last season 11-17-2-0 with a points percentage of .400.
The Heat coaching staff now also consists of Joe Cirella and Thomas Speer, with another assistant coach to be announced at a later date per the team’s press release.