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AHL Bruins hire Leach, Whitfield as assistant coaches

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The Providence Bruins are one of a number of AHL clubs that needed to replenish their coaching staff this summer.

On Thursday, the team announced that they had done just that.

Former NHL defenseman Jay Leach coached his first season of pro North American hockey last year, serving as an assistant coach for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Per an official release by the Bruins, though, he’ll move to Providence for the upcoming season, serving as one of two recently hired assistant coaches.

In addition, the team brought on Trent Whitfield, also as an assistant coach.

Like Leach, Whitfield boasts just one season of pro coaching experience, standing behind the bench as an assistant coach for the Portland Pirates during the 2014-15 season. Last year, though, he was a WHL assistant coach, instead; he’ll join Providence after a few years away from the organization after a year of coaching with the Calgary Hitmen.

Whitfield is a familiar name for Bruins fans, though. Drafted 100th overall by Boston in 1996, the now-39-year-old center spent his final years of North American hockey playing as captain in Providence, from 2009-2013. Like Leach, he spent the bulk of his pro career playing in the AHL, walking away from the game with just 194 games of NHL experience in comparison to 812 games in the minors.

Both coaches were confirmed in the press release, which detailed that Leach will work predominantly with Providence’s defensemen while Whitfield will work with the team’s forwards.

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