Sens hire Curtis Hunt as assistant coach
Signings of blueliner Bell, goalie O'Keefe add further depth to organization
OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators filled out their coaching staff Friday by hiring Curtis Hunt.
Hunt, who joins returnee Greg Carvel as the team's two assistants, was signed to a three-year deal. The 41-year-old has spent the last four seasons as head coach of the Western Hockey League's Regina Pats, compiling a 132-127-29 record.
The move reunites Hunt with Senators head coach Craig Hartsburg. Hunt served as an assistant coach under Hartsburg for Canada's gold medal-winning world junior teams in 2006 and '07.
"The key for me is you want knowledge with you, you want loyalty with you and you want character," said Hartsburg. "Curtis has all three of those (things). I've seen what he can do. I never knew Curtis before the world junior tournament two years ago and I was so impressed with the work he did for us there.
"I think once he gets to work with our players, they're going to be real excited to have him on board. He has a great personality and he's hard-working and works with a lot of enthusiasm, which is extremely important."
Hunt was drafted in the ninth round, 172nd overall, by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1985 NHL draft. He never played an NHL game.
"I'm absolutely thrilled with this opportunity," said Hunt. "To work with (Hartsburg) again and to work at that level provides some new challenges for me. There's lots of work to be done before we get started but I'm certainly very excited.
"I've talked to Craig quite a bit in the last little while and I've had to a chance to talk to Bryan (general manager Murray) about the direction they've set as our leadership group. It's quite an honour and a pleasure (to join them) and I'm excited to get to work."
The Senators also made a couple depth signings Friday, adding defenceman Brendan Bell and goalie Mitchell O'Keefe on one-year deals.
Bell, 25, had 31 points (7-24) in 69 games with the AHL's San Antonio Rampage. He had no points in two games with the Phoenix Coyotes.
O'Keefe, 24, spent last season with the Ferris State Bulldogs of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. In 24 games, he posted a 10-8-5 record with a 2.28 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.