TAMPA, FL – The Tampa Bay Lightning, parent club of the American Hockey League’s Norfolk Admirals, have named Mike Butters general manager, Darren Rumble head coach and Alan May assistant coach of the Admirals, Lightning owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie announced today.
“Mike Butters is a lifetime hockey man with extended experience as a player, manager and owner,” Lightning vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said. “He is a meticulous evaluator of talent and his knowledge of the game will prove to be a valuable asset for the Admirals as we try to return them to the top of the standings.”
“Darren Rumble has done an excellent job as an assistant the previous three seasons. His coaching responsibilities have increased during that time and we feel he is ready to take the next step. His ability to communicate with players and his experience behind the bench make him an ideal coach in Norfolk.”
“Alan May brings an extensive knowledge of the game of hockey as a player and coach. He will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our top prospects and hone their skills to prepare them for the NHL. Alan’s coaching style is such that we feel confident in his abilities to develop our minor league talent.”
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Butters has spent over 16 years in the pro and junior hockey ranks as a player, coach, general manager and owner. Butters has served as president, co-owner and associate coach of the Helena Bighorns junior A team for the past eight years. In the past four seasons as members of the Northern Pacific Hockey League, Butters led the Bighorns to three Cascade Cup Championships in 2005, 2006 and 2008. During his tenure in Helena, Butters has promoted over 60 players to the NCAA level as well as several others to major junior and the professional ranks.
In the mid 1990s, Butters was instrumental in the formation of the West Coast Hockey League (WCHL), whose teams joined the East Coast Hockey League following the 2002-03 season to form the new ECHL. Butters was the general manager of the WCHL’s Bakersfield Fog during their inaugural season in 1995-96.
Butters played eight years of professional hockey, signing contracts with the Detroit Red Wings, Québec Nordiques and Montréal Canadiens and playing for their minor league affiliates. In 21 career AHL games with Adirondack, Halifax and New Haven, Butters posted two goals, three assists and 76 penalty minutes. In 65 career IHL games with Fort Wayne, he recorded six goals and six assists with 216 penalty minutes. Butters also played professional roller hockey in the RHI and Pro Beach Hockey. He captained Team Canada in roller hockey for two years, playing in over 40 international games.
Butters, a defenseman/right wing, is familiar with the Admirals from his time with the ECHL’s Greensboro Monarchs during the 1989-90 and 1991-92 seasons. He won the Riley Cup with the Monarchs in 1990. Butters was also a member of Greensboro during the 1992 playoffs when the Monarchs fell to the Admirals three games to one in the East Division Finals. In 77 ECHL regular season games, Butters scored 14 goals and added 27 assists with 368 penalty minutes. He added five goals and five assists with 173 penalty minutes in 21 playoff games.
The 2008-09 season will mark the twentieth year of involvement in professional hockey for Darren Rumble. The Barrie, Ontario native spent last season as assistant coach of the Admirals. It was his third full season as assistant coach of the Lightning’s AHL affiliate. Rumble began his coaching career as assistant coach of the Springfield Falcons in December 2004 immediately upon retiring from a 15-year professional playing career. He remained in Springfield until the Lightning moved its AHL affiliate to Norfolk last season.
A defenseman, Rumble appeared in 184 NHL games with Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Ottawa and St. Louis, recording ten goals and 26 assists with 216 penalty minutes. He was originally drafted by the Flyers in the first round, 20th overall, of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. He was a member of the 2004 Lightning Stanley Cup Championship team.
Rumble also appeared in 614 career American Hockey League contests, scoring 77 goals and 317 assists with 612 penalty minutes between Hershey, New Haven, Prince Edward Island, Philadelphia, Worcester and Springfield. At the time of his retirement, his 394 career AHL points ranked him second among active AHL defensemen. In 1994-95, Rumble led the AHL with a +45 rating and was named to the league’s Second All-Star Team. In 1996-97, he was a First All-Star Team selection and won the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman.
May, a native of Barrhead, Alberta, spent a total of 12 seasons playing professional hockey including stops in the NHL, AHL, IHL and the WPHL. The left wing was a veteran of 393 NHL games with Boston, Edmonton, Washington, Dallas and Calgary. He recorded 31 career goals, 76 points and 1,348 penalty minutes. May also played in 40 Stanley Cup Playoff games with a goal and three points. His 339 penalty minutes during the 1989-90 season remains a Washington franchise record.
In 139 career AHL games with Springfield, Nova Scotia, Maine and Cape Breton, May posted 32 goals and 35 assists with 735 penalty minutes. He also added six goals, three assists and 156 penalty minutes in 20 Calder Cup Playoff games, making it to the Calder Cup Finals with New Haven in 1989. May also tallied 22 goals, 28 assists and 438 penalty minutes in 156 career IHL games between Orlando, Detroit, Utah and Houston. He won the 1996 Turner Cup as a member of the Utah Grizzlies.
May retired following the 1996-97 season to become head coach of the 1997-98 Fayetteville Force in the CHL, leading them to a 25-42-3 record. After briefly returning to the ice in 1998-99 for the WPHL’s Abilene Aviators, May once again got behind the bench with the Aviators in 1999-00 and posted a 42-24-4 record in one season as head coach.
May has been running youth hockey clinics in the Dallas, Texas area since 1998. He was instrumental in the founding of the Texas Aces hockey club, which is the largest traveling youth hockey program in Texas. May also served as a radio pre and post-game show analyst for the Dallas Stars in 2006-07 and served as an analyst for the NHL Network last season.
The twentieth season of Admirals hockey starts this October. Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2008-09 season tickets today. Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope or call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime!