The Kitchener Rangers announced today that Matthew Barnaby has been hired as their newest assistant coach. Barnaby joins Rangers Head Coach and former Sabre, Jay McKee, as the club looks to build on their impressive 2015-16 season. The two played together in Buffalo from 1995-99.
Drafted 83rd overall by the Sabres in 1992, Barnaby appeared in games for seven different teams in his 14 year NHL career. He is best known for his physical, smash-mouth brand of hockey, racking up 2,562 career penalty minutes. Due to his brash attitude and entertaining demeanor, Barnaby became a fan favorite over his seven seasons in the Sabres organization. He retired from professional hockey after 2006-07 as a member of the Dallas Stars due to concussion issues.
Immediately following his retirement, Barnaby turned his sights to broadcasting where he appeared on ESPN as their lead NHL analyst in 2008. After his brief media stint, Barnaby’s main focus has been youth hockey. He founded a youth hockey development program called Matthew Barnaby Hockey, holding camps and clinics for young players in Western New York. His organization preaches hard work and inspires his players to compete against themselves in an effort to improve their play.
“I think the younger kids are much more advanced with the current training methods. They can be pushed more and absorb more at a younger age.” – Matthew Barnaby
Current Sabres’ prospect and former Kitchener Ranger, Justin Bailey, has appeared as a mentor in many of these clinics. Bailey grew up in the same Williamsville apartment complex where Barnaby lived while a member of the Sabres. During his pre-draft training, he and Bailey skated together leading up to the combine.
Given Barnaby’s experience in youth hockey development, Jay McKee is thrilled to have him aboard in Kitchener.
“Matthew has extensive knowledge and experience with many current players in our league. His passion for the game, attention to detail, and tremendous work ethic is going to fit in seamlessly to the culture we worked hard to create last season.” – Jay McKee
The Rangers had an excellent campaign last year until their elimination in the OHL quarterfinals at the hands of the London Knights. Barnaby is enthusiastic about the opportunity to join such an iconic OHL organization.
“I am so excited to be joining the Kitchener Rangers. I look forward to working with a lot of great young players and helping them improve and achieve their dreams. I want to thank the management and coaching staff for this amazing opportunity to be a part of a great team and storied franchise.”