Hockey Notebook: Chris Taylor named AHL all-star coach

Stratford’s Chris Taylor will serve as head coach of the North Division All-Star team for the American Hockey League All-Star Classic later this month. File photo

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Stratford’s Chris Taylor will serve as head coach of the North Division All-Star team for the American Hockey League All-Star Classic later this month.

The Rochester Americans’ head coach was named after the Buffalo Sabres’ top affiliate led the North Division with a 20-7-2-2 record at the time coaching staffs were selected. The league’s all-star weekend is Jan. 26-27 in Ontario, Calif.

Taylor is the first Amerks’ all-star coach since John Tortorella in 1997.

“We are very happy for Chris to have earned this opportunity,” Amerks GM/Sabres assistant GM Randy Sexton said in a statement in the Buffalo News. “His tireless commitment to our players and staff, and passion for player development, have rightfully generated recognition as one of the very brightest young coaches in our game.”

Taylor, who took over as Amerks’ bench boss in 2017, spent part of this season as an assistant coach under Ralph Krueger in Buffalo while Don Granato was ill. Taylor, 47, returned to Rochester in late November but left a positive impression with the Sabres.

“Chris is an outstanding coach and friend now,” Krueger said in the Buffalo News. “Really filled into a difficult situation here so strongly. Boy, does it ever help us here moving forward to have that connection with Chris now as he’s in Rochester and we’re interacting regularly. I was able to learn from him, having him on my side. I love having coaches there that challenge you, that ask hard questions, that speak the truth, and he does nothing but that. We enjoyed every minute together and we’re connected still in different roles in the organization.”

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Jared Nash is having a solid sophomore season with the University of Alaska-Anchorage’s men’s hockey team.

Nash, 21, has a goal and seven points in 20 games in 2019-20, which is a modest jump from his freshman season when he notched a goal in 18 games.

The Stratford native spent two seasons with the Cullitons and helped the team win a Cherrey Cup in 2015-16 before joining the BCHL’s Penticton Vees.

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Devin DiDiomete is producing close to a point per game in his first season in Hungary.

The 31-year-old forward from Stratford has eight goals and 29 points in 33 games with UTE in the Erste Liga league. DiDiomete spent the previous three seasons in Italy, where he racked up 53 goals and 101 points in 113 regular season games with Fassa and Cortina.

cosmith@postmedia.com

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