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Barrie Colts associate coach lands new role with ECHL expansion team

Phil Barski has been named head coach and general manager of the Bloomington Bison
Barrie Colts associate coach Phil Barski has taken a new position with the ECHL's Bloomington Bison.

Barrie Colts associate coach Phillip Barski is leaving the local Ontario Hockey League team for a new gig in Illinois.

Barski has been hired by the ECHL's Bloomington Bison as their inaugural head coach and general manager when they start play next season.

“The entire Colts organization would like to thank Phillip and his wife, Diana, for their time and dedication spent in our organization," Barrie head coach and general manager Marty Williamson said on the team's website. 

"We would like to wish them all the best with their move to Bloomington and wish them all the success," he added. 

Barski joined the Colts in the 2022-23 as an assistant coach, but took on the role of associate coach this past season.

Bloomington is located two hours south of Chicago.

The ECHL expansion franchise was announced in January. The team will play its home games at Grossinger Motors Arena. Opened in 2006, the venue is owned by the City of Bloomington and operated by the city’s arts and entertainment department.

With 15 years of coaching experience across various levels, including the OHL, U Sports, ECHL and professional leagues in Europe, the Bison says Barski brings a "wealth of knowledge and a proven track record for success."

"I am honoured and excited to be named head coach and general manager of the Bloomington Bison," Barski said on the ECHL team's website. "Starting a new team in a city with such enthusiasm for hockey is a tremendous opportunity."

It was announced this week that the Bison have entered into an affiliation with the NHL's New York Rangers, whose AHL affiliate is the Hartford Wolf Pack.

"The partnership with the Rangers signifies an incredible beginning for the Bison," the ECHL team said on its website. "As a community passionate about hockey, aligning with a franchise with such a rich history and commitment to excellence is an extraordinary opportunity for our team, players, and fans. The Rangers’ dedication to player development and their tradition of success will no doubt enrich our organization."