The Shreveport Mudbugs, proud members of the North American Hockey League, have announced that Associate Head Coach Francis Anzalone will be advancing to the USHL to become the Associate Head Coach with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Anzalone worked for the RoughRiders from 2009-2013, and will return to Cedar Rapids after helping guide the Mudbugs in what was a very successful first season in the NAHL.
“Two of the pillars of Mudbugs hockey are development and advancement, and that is certainly not limited to the players,” General Manager Scott Muscutt said. “Francis came in to Shreveport and brought a great deal of passion, energy, detail and junior hockey experience. He has played a major role in helping us establish our culture. We look forward to watching him make the same contributions to the RoughRiders program.”
Anzalone joined the Mudbugs last July after spending three seasons with the NAHL’s Aberdeen Wings. He was Head Coach of the Wings from 2014-2016, and joined Aberdeen after working in a variety of different roles for the RoughRiders, the organization that gave him his start at the junior level eight years ago. While Anzalone is excited to return to Cedar Rapids and work in what he describes as a “true partnership” with Head Coach and General Manager Mark Carlson, he is grateful for his time in Shreveport.
“I would like to thank Scott Muscutt, Karlis Zirnis, Nathan Bowen, the ownership, players, front office staff, support staff and the wonderful fans of Shreveport for both a memorable 2016-2017 season, and for the opportunity to be part of something incredibly special,” Anzalone said. “Our mission in Shreveport this past season was to begin building a culture that would match the strength of the fanbase. Mudbugs fans set the bar pretty high, and it was a privilege to play a role in trying to help our program start the process of reaching that bar.”
Anzalone departs Shreveport after being part of a Mudbugs hockey staff that guided the team to a 35 win expansion season, one that featured numerous successes, including home ice advantage in the first round of the Robertson Cup playoffs, eight NCAA commitments and the capturing of six league awards, with NAHL Organization of the Year atop that list.
While hockey’s return to Shreveport has certainly started off with a bang, Anzalone believes that the best is yet to come. “The core of players coming back are very eager to take the program another step,” Anzalone added. “The players coming in are excited to be part of something bigger than themselves. Led by Musky, the front office staff works extremely hard to grow the brand. The community supports the team. No matter how you slice it, Shreveport, the NAHL and the culture that is in place are a winning combination. I look forward to watching the Mudbugs be a successful franchise for years to come.”