By John Vogl
Jay McKee's coaching career is back on track.
The Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League have hired the longtime Sabres defenseman and former Amerks assistant as an assistant coach to Kris Knoblauch. The Otters are well-known because of center Connor McDavid, pegged as the next NHL franchise player.
"What I want to do as a coach here is not only develop them as players but also as people," McKee said at a news conference this afternoon according to the Otters' Twitter feed.
The Sabres drafted McKee in the first round of the 1995 draft, and he joined the team that season and played in Buffalo until 2006. He also played for St. Louis and Pittsburgh before retiring in 2010.
McKee served as an assistant coach at Niagara University in 2010-11, and he joined the Sabres' minor-league club in Rochester as an assistant in 2011. He worked one season under then-coach Ron Rolston but didn't have his contract renewed by Rolston after a personality conflict. McKee, who resides in Western New York, continued to make appearances on behalf of the Sabres while waiting for another coaching opportunity.
McKee played for the Otters franchise when it was known as the Niagara Falls Thunder. He will oversee Erie's defensemen and penalty kill.
"It's more special for me to come back here after being a part of this organization," McKee said. "I feel very fortunate to come back and help."