Head Coach: Matt Thomas
A native of Maple Ridge, BC, Thomas has extensive head coaching experience in the ECHL, spanning 12 seasons with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons, Stockton Thunder, and Cincinnati Cyclones. Thomas served two seasons as an assistant coach with Atlantic City, including helping the Boardwalk Bullies to a Kelly Cup Championship in 2003, before assuming the role of head coach and Director of Hockey Operations with the team prior to 2004-2005. He compiled a 42-22-8 mark in his lone season as Atlantic City's bench boss, and also served as the head coach for the 2005 ECHL All-Star Game.
He then moved on to Fresno prior to the 2005-06 campaign, leading the Falcons to a 43-15-14 mark along with a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Over the next two seasons in Fresno, Thomas compiled a 76-41-17 record, with trips to the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs on both occasions. He coached the Falcons during the first half of 2008-09, leading the team to an 18-10-2 mark before the team ceased operations midseason. Thomas was not out of work for long however, as he was named head coach of Stockton shortly after and finished the year with a record of 22-16-3, and a trip to the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Thomas went on to coach the Thunder for four more seasons, amassing a mark of 141-111-36, reaching the post season each year, including a trip to the 2013 Kelly Cup Finals where they fell to the Reading Royals, 4 games to 1.
Since taking over behind the Cyclones bench during the 2018 season, Thomas has led the Cyclones to a 89-30-16 record. In his first season behind the Cyclones bench, Thomas guided the Cyclones to a League-best 51-13-5-3 record for 110 points, earning the team’s second-ever Brabham Cup as ECHL regular season champions, along with the team’s first division title since the 2012-13 season. The Cyclones achieved a 30-2-2-2 mark on home ice, tying an ECHL record for most home wins and fewest home losses, and also led the League with an average of 3.92 goals scored per game and goals against with 2.44. For his efforts in his first season behind the Cyclones bench, Thomas received the John Brophy Award, awarded annually to the ECHL Coach of the Year.
Thomas was also named head coach of the Western Conference All-Stars at this season’s CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic in Toledo. It was his third selection as an all-star head coach, previously earning the honor in 2005 with Atlantic City and 2009 with Stockton, which ties as League record for All-Star Games coached.
Currently Thomas ranks 5th all-time in most ECHL Career Games Coached with 782 and 6th all-time in Career ECHL Wins at 431. He is also the all-time leader in playoff games coached with 108, and ranks second with 54 playoff wins, just one behind all-time leader John Brophy.
Assistant Coach: Jason Payne
A native of Toronto, ON, Payne is entering his third season as Cyclones Assistant Coach. During his two years with the Cyclones they have gone 89-30-16 including a regular season best 51-13-8 record in 2018-2019. Prior to coming to Cincinnati, he served as the Player Development coach of the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) as well as General Manager of the Georgetown Raiders of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). He also coached both the Toronto Patriots of the OJHL and the Mississauga Sens AAA program. Payne is also the owner of the Precision Skating School in Toronto where his program focuses on the key dynamics of skating, puck handling techniques, defensive tactics, and other game related skills. He has worked with all levels of hockey players - from pee wee all the way to professional players.
Prior to his player development career, Payne enjoyed a successful 14-year pro career that saw stops in six different leagues, including 71 games in the AHL with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, Carolina Monarchs, Worcester IceCats, and Saint John Flames. He has also racked up 132 games of ECHL action and 140 games in the former United Hockey League (UHL) where he combined for over 1450 career penalty minutes.
|Kristin Ropp||General Manager|
|Matt Thomas||Head Coach|
|Jason Payne||Assistant Coach|