By Dustin Cowell
Next up in our “Behind the Bench” series focusing on our hockey operations staff traveling to Stockton to lead the Heat this upcoming season is Assistant Coach Domenic Pittis.
Pittis is a Calgary, Alberta, Canada native that has a professional playing career that spanned nearly two decades and two continents. Initially drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round (#52 overall) in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Pittis played 86 games in the NHL during his time in North America with the Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators along with three Stanley Cup Playoffs games with Edmonton during the 2000-01 campaign.
The new Heat assistant was also extremely successful in the AHL, averaging well over a point-per-game during his AHL career. In total, Pittis registered 342 points (109 goals, 233 assists) across 309 games during his five stints in the league. He twice won an individual award in the AHL, once for most points (104) during the regular season in 1998-99 and once for most assists (57) during the regular season in 2003-04. Pittis
Following his 2003-04 campaign that he split between the Sabres and Rochester Americans, Pittis traveled to Switzerland to join the Kloten Flyers of the National League A (NLA), the top league in Switzerland.
Pittis spent the majority of his nine years in Switzerland with the Flyers and the ZSC Lions. Overall he played 348 games, scored 315 points (106 goals, 209 assists) and won two NLA Championships with ZSC in 2007-08, scoring the championship-clinching goal, and winning again in 2011-12.
When he retired from the game after the 2012-13 season, his old coach with the ZSC Lions, Bob Hartley, brought him on to his Calgary Flames staff as the Skills and Development Coach for the 2013-14 season.
For the past two years in Calgary, Pittis began his coaching career working with Calgary’s abundance of young talent – Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Lance Bouma, Sam Bennett, and Josh Jooris to name a few – as they develop into full-time NHL stars.
Pittis surely had a major role in the Flames surprising run in the 2014-15 playoffs. Prior to the season, Calgary wasn’t projected by many to even be a playoff contender in the always cutthroat Western Conference. Yet, the flourishing young talent led the Flames to their first playoff birth since 2008-09 and they became one of those teams that you just don’t want to run into for a seven-game series.
Exciting times are ahead for Pittis, who is now set to become an Assistant Coach for the first time in his young career here in Stockton where he will assist in the development of Calgary’s young talent at the AHL level.
The 40-year-old is really just getting going in his coaching career, but his resume is already an impressive one.