Who is Drew Bannister? AHL Thunderbirds coach takes over for Blues

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ST. LOUIS – Drew Bannister is the interim head coach of the St. Louis Blues after the team fired Craig Berube from the role Tuesday evening.

Bannister will report to St. Louis on Wednesday and coach his first game Thursday as the Blues host the Ottawa Senators. Berube, the only coach to ever lead the Blues to a Stanley Cup title, is out after six seasons.

Prior to his promotion, Bannister had served as head coach of the AHL Springfield Thunderbirds for three seasons. He guided the affiliate to a 93-58-19 regular-season record and helped them reach the Calder Cup Final in 2022, the AHL’s equivalent to the Stanley Cup Final.

Bannister had 164 games of NHL experience as a defenseman from 1996-2002. He played in several European leagues after that, including teams in Finland, Russia, and Germany, before retiring as a player in 2012.

Bannister’s coaching career began quickly after that, spending three seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s Owen Sound as an assistant and working his way up to the head coach of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds by 2015.

Bannister has been involved with the Blues organization since 2018, serving as the head coach of the San Antonio Rampage from 2018-2020 before the Blues switched their AHL affiliate to Springfield.

Having worked closely with the Blues AHL affiliates in recent years, Bannister’s coaching experience with some players at the top level could prove worthwhile in short order, having worked up close with Jordan Kyrou, Alexey Toropchenko, Tyler Tucker and Joel Hofer among others in minor-league settings.

“Drew Bannister, while unknown to many, has a good reputation inside the organization. Has done a good job with the players down in Springfield. Familiar with several players inside [the Blues’] room. Won’t be afraid of NHL players,” said Bally Sports Midwest Blues analyst Andy Strickland via Twitter.

“As the @OHLHoundPower can attest Drew Bannister is a very structured coach. He will get the Blues players attention. He put in his time. Whether he’s a longterm fit in St Louis has yet to be seen,” said TSN Hockey insider Darren Dreger.

Bannister is the fifth Blues head coach since Doug Armstrong took after as the team’s general manager in 2010. He is a native of Belleville, Ontario and 49 years old.

The Blues are expected to introduce Bannister around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.


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