The Nashville Predators have announced that Ben Vanderklok will be the team’s new goaltending coach. He will take the role served by Mitch Korn after serving as the Predators assistant goaltending coach for the past five-seasons.
Predators Press Release:
Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has named Ben Vanderklok the team’s goaltending coach. The Welland, Ontario native has served as the organization’s assistant goaltending coach for the past five seasons.
“Ben has worked closely with all the goaltenders in our organization and has been integral in their development and success while learning from one of the best in Mitch Korn,” Poile said. “This is a natural fit to have Ben transition into the lead role, and his relationship with Pekka Rinne and Carter Hutton will make this process seamless.”
Since 2009, Vanderklok has worked nearly all the goalies within the organization, from Pekka Rinne, Carter Hutton, Anders Lindback, Chris Mason and Dan Ellis at the NHL level to Jeremy Smith, Magnus Hellberg, Marek Mazanec, Mark Dekanich and Scott Darling with the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals and ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones.
His work was integral in Mazanec’s transition to North America in 2013-14, which saw him play 25 games with the Predators, becoming the youngest in club history to record a shutout on Nov. 19, 2013 at Detroit and being named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November 2013. Also last season, Darling came to the organization with one AHL game to his credit, and ended 2013-14 ranked among the league leaders in save percentage (.933), goals-against average (2.00) and shutouts (6) for the Admirals.
Poile also acknowledged Mitch Korn’s service and contributions to the franchise.
“We thank Mitch for his 16 years of work and dedication to the Nashville Predators, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” he said.
Vanderklok has also worked as goalie coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs since 2008, helping them reach the playoffs for six consecutive seasons and reach the OHL Final in 2011-12. During his first four seasons with the IceDogs, Vanderklok helped Hamilton, Ontario native Mark Visentin become a first-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes (27th overall), earn silver (2011) and bronze (2012) medals with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship, become 2011 OHL Goaltender of the Year, and earn the 2012 Dave Pinkney Trophy as the goalie with the lowest goals-against average.
Vanderklok started his coaching career with the Port Colborne Pirates of the Golden Horseshoe Junior Hockey League (Junior B) from 2003-06 before instructing and training Brock University’s (Ontario) goalies from 2007-09. Since 2003, he has run Ben Vanderklok Goaltending, which conducts camps and clinics in the St. Catharine’s, Ontario region.
A dual Canadian-Dutch citizen, Vanderklok retired from play following four seasons (2000-04) and two league titles in 2002 and 2003 with the Amsterdam Tigers of the Netherlands Elite League. He played a pair of seasons with the OHL’s Barrie Colts from 1998-2000.
The 32-year-old and his wife Marlene have a daughter, Ava.
The Roundtable did a feature story on Vanderklok back in March. Having been a fixture within the organization for as long as he has, with players and coaches alike knowing him and his work, this was a good internal hire by Nashville. It’s tough to lose someone as brilliant as Korn. But having someone like Vanderklok as a successor should lessen the bite.