It's a Major Assignment for Avalanche's Hartley

From Times Wire Services

Bob Hartley, a veteran minor league coach and a longtime friend of Colorado General Manager Pierre Lacroix, was hired Tuesday as coach of the Avalanche, six days after Marc Crawford stunned the team by resigning after being offered a contract extension.

"I don't think that my experience is a barrier to my expectations," Hartley said. "I feel that I've paid my dues."

Hartley, 37, spent the last two years as coach of the Hershey (Pa.) Bears, Colorado's top farm club in the American Hockey League. He led Hershey to the AHL title in 1997.

Hartley has more than 11 years of minor league coaching experience that began when he juggled a job at the paper mill with his duties as coach of his hometown team in Hawkesbury, Canada.


The Kings re-signed unrestricted free agent right wing Russ Courtnall to a one-year contract.

Courtnall, 33, originally signed with the Kings as a free agent in November and had 12 goals and six assists in 58 regular-season games.

The 14-year NHL veteran has 291 goals and 434 assists in 972 games with six teams.


The Chicago Blackhawks acquired left wing Colin Pepperall from the New York Rangers for future considerations and signed him to a three-year contract. Pepperall, 20, led the Ontario Hockey League's Erie Otters with 31 goals and 60 assists. . . . The Florida Panthers signed Chris Allen to a three-year, $2.2-million contract, keeping the OHL's top defenseman from reentering the June 27 NHL draft. Allen, 20, scored 38 goals and 56 assists for the Kingston Frontenacs.

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