Neil Graham is leaving the Idaho Steelheads, but is still staying in the family.
The Idaho Steelheads head coach and director of hockey operations was named the new assistant coach of the Texas Stars, the Dallas Stars’ top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
“I am excited for the opportunity to join the Texas Stars coaching staff,” said Graham in a press release. “I have worked closely with Scott White (general manager) and (head coach) Derek Laxdal over the last several seasons. We share the same values in terms of the development model and look forward to working even closer with them in this new capacity.
Graham, 34, spent the last seven years with the Steelheads, including four seasons as the team’s head coach. He amassed a 166-91-31 record in 288 regular season games while leading the team to three straight 40-win seasons and extending the team’s historic playoff streak to 22 seasons, the longest active streak in professional hockey.
“I will always be grateful to (president) Eric Trapp and the Idaho Steelheads organization,” said Graham. “The culture is excellent and encourages growth. My wife Meg, son Rylan and I have loved our time in Boise.
“We cannot thank enough the city, the fans, and the friends we have made over the last seven years in Boise. We’re elated for this next chapter and are looking forward to building relationships in Cedar Park, Texas.”
The Calgary, Alberta, native guided the Steelheads to the Kelly Cup Playoffs in all four seasons as head coach. His team went to the division final in each of the last two seasons while appearing in 34 total playoff games. He oversaw the second reverse-sweep of a seven-game series in ECHL history during the 2018 postseason and the league’s first four-straight overtime victories in a series last season.
“Neil has proven himself as a capable coach during his tenure in Idaho,” White said. “His experience as a coach and player will be a tremendous asset to head coach Derek Laxdal and the entire Texas Stars coaching staff. Neil’s work in Boise and addition to the Stars both continues and enhances the development path between Texas and Idaho.”
Graham became the youngest head coach in team history on Aug. 7, 2015. Prior to being appointed, Graham was Idaho’s full-time assistant coach during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons after serving as a player and coach for the 2012-13 campaign.
“We are very excited for Neil and his opportunity with the Texas Stars and the Dallas Stars organization,” Trapp said. “It’s a chance well-earned. We were very fortunate to have Neil. ... Neil and his family are part of the Steelheads family forever. We wish him all the best in Texas and hope he continues to reach his personal goals.”
The search for the eighth head coach in Steelheads history is currently underway.