Training camp for the NY Islanders is just a few weeks away, and down at the AHL level, the newly appointed head coach of the Bridgeport Islanders, Rick Kowalsky, still needed to round out his staff. The assistant coach positions have been filled today, as Matt Macdonald and Pascal Rheaumé will join Kowalsky behind the bench for the 2023-24 season.
Macdonald played four years of college hockey as a defenseman at St. Lawrence University, where he was an alternate captain for his senior season. After college, Macdonald continued his career in the CHL (Central Hockey League) for one season before signing with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL from 2006-09, with two stints in the AHL. As his time in North America concluded, Macdonald headed to Europe for three seasons, playing two in Italy and one in Denmark before calling it a career.
Immediately after his playing days were over, Macdonald returned to Cincinnati to become an assistant coach with the Cyclones. After two years as an assistant, Macdonald was promoted to head coach, where he remained in charge for four seasons, making the Kelly Cup Playoffs twice. In 2018, Macdonald climbed into the AHL ranks as an assistant with the Grand Rapids Griffins, where he remained through last season.
Rheaumé played parts of nine seasons in the NHL for a total of 318 games with the NJ Devils, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers, NY Rangers, and Arizona Coyotes, winning the Calder Cup in 1995 and the Stanley Cup in 2003. While he spent a portion of his career in the NHL, Rheaumé spent most of his time bouncing between the NHL and the AHL. After one season in the IHL, Rheaumé called it a career in 2010. Since then, Rheaumé has spent eight years coaching Canadian juniors, one in the AHL with the Iowa Wild and two with the Trois-Rivières Lions of the ECHL.
On June 22, Rheaumé accepted the GM and head coaching positions with Trois-Rivières, which he has since relinquished, pursuing another opportunity in the AHL.
Rheaumé is the brother of Manon Rheaumé, who played two preseason games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 and 1993 as the only female to ever participate in an NHL game.