Eric Wellwood has been named head coach of the Newfoundland Growlers, the ECHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, becoming the third head coach in franchise history.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to coach in this league with a top-notch organization as the next head coach of the Growlers,” said Wellwood. “I can’t wait to get to St. John’s and meet the staff, players and the fans.”
Wellwood, 31, joins the Growlers after three seasons with the Flint Firebirds (OHL) where he began as an associate coach before taking over as head coach during the 2018-19 season. In 2019-20, Wellwood led the club to its best season in franchise history (40-21-1-1). Prior to his time with Flint, the Windsor, Ontario native spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Oshawa Generals (OHL), including their Memorial Cup championship season in 2014-15.
“Eric Wellwood is one of the brightest up-and-coming coaches in our game. He emerged from a talented group of candidates based on his intelligence, his experiences as both a player and coach, as well as his ability to connect with players and staff,” commented Ryan Hardy, Maple Leafs Senior Director of Minor League Operations. “He did a tremendous job with the Flint Firebirds, achieving success in the standings while also advancing the development of his players. We look forward to Eric continuing the Growlers run of success in Newfoundland while mentoring the next wave of Maple Leaf and Marlies prospects.”
As a player, Wellwood was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round (172nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. He would go on to skate in 31 NHL regular season games and 11 playoff games with the Philadelphia Flyers in addition to 164 American Hockey League games with the Adirondack Phantoms. During his Ontario Hockey League career with the Windsor Spitfires, Wellwood captured back-to-back OHL and Memorial Cup Championships in 2009 and 2010.