HELENA — Two-time national champion and seven-time coach of the year, Scott Cunningham is making his return to the Helena Bighorns. He will work hand in hand with current head coach Damon Hanson as co-head coaches as well as hold the position of Director of Hockey Operations.
Cunningham is entering his 25th season coaching junior hockey.
Bighorns owners Mike Greene and Jed Snyder have known Cunningham for over 30 years.
Greene says coaching the Bighorns is not a one-man job, and is confident that Cunningham will be the perfect asset.
“You could give me a list of a million guys and there's not gonna be a better guy than Scott Cunningham. There's just not. He knows the market. He's done it there. He's been successful there,” he said.
Cunningham and Hanson aren’t strangers either. Cunningham coached the 2010-11 Bighorns to a National Championship while Hanson played under him.
While in Helena, Cunningham collected a record of 466-97-6 from 2004-2014 and nine trips to the USA Hockey National Tournament.
He’s also coached multiple players that have gone on to play in the NHL like Cale Makar, Jeff Malott, and Pat Dwyer.
Greene describes Cunningham’s style of coaching as “fair but firm” and hopes that the extra 24 years of coaching that he has on Hanson will help them avoid mistakes he made as a young coach.
The Bighorns had a lot of great talent this past season, unfortunately, a lot of that talent was 20 years old. This means the Bighorns will have to do some recruiting, something Cunningham excels in.
“We had a really good team this year, and it's gonna be hard to replace a lot of those players. But we have to do it. And the Helena Bighorns are not going to take a step back...those guys [Hanson and Cunningham] are in the office every day getting after it. And as soon as the draft finishes up on the 20th those guys are going to be on the road this summer and finding the next really good high character young men that can be Helena Bighorns,” Greene said.
Greene’s biggest message throughout this hire is that coach Damon Hanson is not going anywhere.
“As long as Damon wants to be a member of the Helena Bighorn he's gonna be, and he does a really good job,” Greene said.
With these two coaches behind the bench, Bighorns fans have a lot to look forward to for the 2022-23 season. Luckily, season tickets are on sale now at the Bighorns Store.