New Buffalo Sabres head coach Phil Housley hired Chris Hajt to serve as one of his assistants, the team announced Monday.
Hajt, 39, spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate. When the Kings’ AHL affiliate was the Manchester Monarchs, he helped guide them to a Calder Cup championship after the 2014-15 season. The team also made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons as the Ontario Reign, including a division title in 2015-16.
The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native is the son of former NHL defenseman Bill Hajt, who was Housley’s teammate in Buffalo in the 1980s. Housley was named the 18th head coach in Sabres history on June 15.
“It’s been a process with that because we’re trying to do a thorough search for really good candidates and there’s a lot of really good coaches out there,” Housley told the Buffalo News last week of his coaching search. “But you wanna just make sure you do the right thing and look at everybody. We still have the coach that we’re looking at and trying to fill that position.”
Chris Hajt also served as an assistant coach for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League from 2008 to 2014.
A former defenseman, Hajt played six NHL games for the Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals, adding 91 points (20 goals, 71 assists) in 477 career AHL contests.
The Sabres also announced that assistant coach Tom Ward will return for the 2017-18 season. Ward spent the past two seasons as an assistant under Dan Bylsma, who was fired in April after the Sabres missed the playoffs for the sixth straight season.
On July 5, the Sabres hired another assistant coach from the Kings organization, Davis Payne, as their associate coach. He spent parts of three seasons as head coach of the St. Louis Blues from 2010 to 2011 and has been an assistant with the Kings for the past five seasons.