Tag Archives: Mike Bales


The Buffalo Sabres today announced the following changes to the team’s coaching and development staffs:

Jason Christie, Matt Ellis and Marty Wilford have been hired as assistant coaches and Justin White has been hired as video coordinator. Assistant coach Mike Bales and video coach Myles Fee will both remain with the team this season.

Adam Mair has been hired as the director of player development and Dan Girardi will remain with the organization in a development role.


“In Marty and Jason, we’ve added two quality people and coaches to our organization. Their experience at multiple levels of pro hockey will be crucial as we implement our vision for this team. We are also excited to bring back Matt Ellis, Mike Bales and Myles Fee, and add Justin White to our group to continue building on the progress of last season. I’m confident in the passion and intensity they will all bring to the rink each day and their ability to get the best out our players and team.”

– Sabres Head Coach Don Granato

Career Highlights:

  •  Holds the ECHL all-time record for coaching wins (667) and has served as a head coach in the ECHL for 18 seasons for the Jacksonville IceMen (2017-2021), Tulsa Oilers (2015-2017), Ontario Reign (2011-2015), Utah Grizzlies (2005-2008) and Peoria Rivermen (2000-2005).
  • Won the Kelly Cup as the ECHL champion and was named Playoff MVP in 2000 during the final year of his playing career for the Don Granato-coached Rivermen.
  • Served as an assistant coach for the Chicago Wolves (AHL) from 2008 to 2010.

Career Highlights:

  • Served as an interim assistant coach for the Sabres last season after being named the team’s director of player development in September 2020.
  • Played in 356 NHL games during his nine-year career for the Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings.
  • Spent four seasons working for the Academy of Hockey in LECOM Harborcenter, where he served as a development coach before being named director in September 2019.

Career Highlights:

  • Has spent the last three seasons (2018-19 to 2020-21) as an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks after serving as an assistant coach for the San Diego Gulls (AHL) from 2015 to 2018.
  • Began his coaching career as an assistant coach for the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) during the 2011-12 season before serving in the same role for the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) from 2012 to 2015.
  • Had a 14-year pro playing career as a defenseman, including 275 points (47+228) in 539 games during seven AHL seasons.

Career Highlights:

  • Played 615 games during a 12-year NHL career as a forward for the Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs after being selected by Toronto in the fourth round (84th overall) of the 1997 NHL Draft.
  • Served as an assistant coach for the Rochester Americans (AHL) during the 2020-21 season.
  • Spent five seasons as a development coach for the Sabres from 2015 to 2020 after serving as the director of player development for Canisius College (AHA) from 2012 to 2014.


BUFFALO, N.Y. (June 14, 2019) — The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has hired Don Granato and Mike Bales as assistant coaches. The pair joins assistant coach Steve Smith as members of Head Coach Ralph Krueger’s staff for the 2019-20 season.

Granato spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks after serving as the associate head coach for the University of Wisconsin during the 2016-17 season.

During his coaching career, Granato spent eight total seasons in the St. Louis Blues’ organization, including one season as an assistant coach for the Blues (2005-06). He also served as the team’s AHL head coach for seven seasons, first with the Worcester IceCats (2000-01 to 2004-05) and later with the Chicago Wolves (2008-09 to 2009-10). In his first season with the IceCats, Granato was the recipient of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award, awarded annually to the AHL’s most outstanding coach.

Granato began his coaching career in the USHL during the 1993-94 season as the interim head coach of the Wisconsin Capitols. He became head coach of the Green Bay Gamblers the following campaign and led the team to the best record in the USHL in 1995-96 and 1996-97. The following season, Granato moved to the ECHL, where he spent two seasons as head coach of the Columbus Chill before winning the Kelly Cup in his only season as head coach of the Peoria Rivermen in 1999-00.

A native of Downers Grove, Illinois, Granato also has extensive experience as a coach at the national level for the United States. From 2011-12 to 2015-16, Granato served as a head coach at the USNTDP, where he led his teams to victories at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the 2015 IIHF World U18 Championship. He was also an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship and at the 2014 and 2018 IIHF World Championships.

As a player, he captured an NCAA Championship with the University of Wisconsin in 1990. He spent two seasons in the ECHL with Columbus, posting 90 points (26+64) in 103 career contests.

Bales joins the Sabres with six seasons of experience as a goaltending coach in the National Hockey League. The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native spent the last two seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, during which the team recorded an 82-64-18 regular-season record.

Prior to joining the Hurricanes, Bales spent six seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2011-12 to 2016-17), winning the Stanley Cup in each of his final two seasons as a member of the Penguins’ staff. Originally hired by Pittsburgh in 2011 as a goaltender development coach, his first two seasons with the team were highlighted by helping to scout, draft and develop Penguins goaltender Matt Murray.

Bales was promoted to serve as the Penguins’ goaltending coach prior to the 2013-14 season. While serving on the team’s coaching staff, he oversaw a four-year span during which the team’s goaltenders posted the seventh-best save percentage in the league.

Bales played 18 seasons of professional hockey as a goaltender. He was selected by the Boston Bruins in the fifth round of the 1990 NHL Draft and appeared in 23 NHL games with the Bruins and Ottawa Senators.