He’s also the only minority head coach in the league!
The Cincinnati Cyclones hockey team just named Jason Payne as their new head coach, the first Black coach in its 30+ year history, Fox 19 news reports.
Payne played professional hockey for 14 seasons, including some time with Cincinnati’s Mighty Ducks. Since then, he has served in several capacities, as an assistant coach, scout, skills coach, and skating coach. He came on with the Cyclones before the 2018-2019 season as an assistant coach.
Now, Payne has been named head coach, the first Black head coach in the team’s 31-year history. He is also the only minority head coach in the entire professional hockey league and the third in the ECHL’s 33-year history.
“I would like to thank our ownership group, Ray Harris and Kristin Ropp, for trusting in me and believing in my abilities. I am humbled, grateful, and excited for this amazing opportunity. I would like to thank Matt Thomas for all that he has done to support the Cyclones and for giving me my first opportunity at the professional level as a member of his staff. I would also like to congratulate him on his recent hire as the assistant coach with the Providence Bruins and joining the Boston Bruins organization,” said Payne via a team statement.
He will take over for former Cyclones Head Coach Matt Thomas, who was recently named assistant coach for the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League.
Photo Courtesy of Cincinnati Cyclones Twitter/@CincyCyclones