Red Wings’ Derek Lalonde applauds new Toledo Walleye head coach

Detroit News

A former assistant coach under Lalonde with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers from 2011-14, Mikesch replaces Dan Watson, who was named head coach of the the Red Wings’ AHL team in Grand Rapids last month.

“I was on staff with Pat for three seasons, winning a USHL championship together,” Lalonde said on Twitter. “Pat is a diligent worker, detailed and organized. He will continue the recent success of the Walleye. Great hire by the organization.”

Mikesch was head coach and general manager of the Gamblers from 2014-22, compiling an overall record of 214-200-48. While at Green Bay, he coached and assisted in the development of nearly 30 players who were drafted by the NHL, including Casey Mittelstadt (Buffalo), Nick Schmaltz (Arizona) and Andrew Peeke (Columbus).

Prior to joining Green Bay, Mikesch was an assistant coach at his alma mater, Michigan Tech University, from 2004-11. During his collegiate career with the Huskies, he recorded 169 points (57 goals-112 assists) in 153 games from 1992-96.

Mikesch also had a nine-year professional playing career, which included two stints in the ECHL. He had five goals in four games with the Louisville RiverFrogs in 1995-96 and posted 60 points in 45 games with the Florida Everblades in 1998-99.

In addition, he skated for Kentucky and New Haven in the AHL and Orlando in the International Hockey League and saw time in leagues in Germany.

The Walleye have served as the Red Wings’ ECHL affiliate since 2009 when Toledo re-entered the league. From that time, the Walleye have played in one Kelly Cup Finals (2019), captured four division championships and two regular season titles (2014-15, 2016-17).

ECHL notes

… Walleye forward Conlan Keenan will make it a third straight year with Toledo after agreeing to terms for the 2023-24 season. Keenan, 27, had 30 points in 60 games with a team-best +28 rating last year.

… Michigan Tech’s Parker Saretsky signed a deal with the Fort Wayne Komets. Saretsky, 24, will be making his pro debut after finishing his final college season with 20 points.

… Clarkson’s Mitchell Lewandowski agreed to terms with the Walleye for this year. Lewandowski, 25, completed a five-year career at Michigan State with 120 points in 156 games from 2017-2022.

Ty Enns, who was a member of the 2021-22 Division III national championship team at Adrian College, was signed by the Kansas City Mavericks. The 25-year-old Enns had 93 points in 61 games in two years with Adrian.

… The Norfolk Admirals signed former Saginaw Spirits forward Danny Katic. The 22-year-old Katic led Norfolk in goals (18) and finished second in points (40) last year.

… The ECH’s Board of Governors approved the expansion application of Lake Tahoe for admittance into the league for the 2024-25 season. The team, which will be named later, will be owned by 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.

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