After 20 Years, Bryan Helmer Hangs up his Skates to Coach

On July 22nd the Peterborough Petes announced the hiring of Bryan Helmer as their assistant coach. After 20 years of professional hockey — 1,117 AHL regular season games, 50 IHL games and 146 NHL games — Helmer has finally decided to retire, however, he will remain at least for now the AHL’s all-time leading scorer amongst defencemen with 564 points. Bryan Helmer will forever be remembered here in OKC as the consummate professional, and the ultimate Captain. And it came as no surprise when Helmer was deservedly recognized for his sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey as the winner of the 2010-11 Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award.

It is difficult to even begin to list Helmer’s accomplishments over his 20 years of professional hockey. The AHL’s notes on Helmer include, among many others:

Entered 2012-2013 season as the all-time AHL leader with 158 Calder Cup Playoff games played…Entered 2012-2013 season third all-time in AHL history with 1,093 games played…Named Oklahoma City’s winner of IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the YEar Award in 2011-2012…Served as captain of Oklahoma City in 2011-2012…Named recipient of AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award in 2010-2011…Served as captain and member of Calder Cup champion Hershey in 2009-2010…Served as captain and member of Calder Cup champion Hershey in 2008-2009…Scored first NHL goal with Vancouver in 2000-2001…Made NHL debut with Phoenix in 1998-1999…Member of Calder Cup champion Albany in 1994-1995…Scored first professional goal with Albany in 1993-1994.

Bryan Helmer’s teams over 20 seasons of professional hockey include 8 AHL teams, 2 IHL teams and 4 NHL teams:

Albany River Rats | Worcester IceCats | Las Vegas Thunder | Phoenix Coyotes | St. Louis Blues | Kansas City Blades | Vancouver Canucks | Manitoba Moose | Springfield Falcons | Grand Rapids Griffins | San Antonio Rampage | Hershey Bears | Washington Capitals | Oklahoma City Barons

Helmer Petes

We wish you all the best, Bryan Helmer! What an incredible 20 years!

Articles on Helmer’s retirement and coaching position:

Petes Announce Bryan Helmer as Assistant Coach (Peterborough Petes):

Peterborough Petes General Manager Mike Oke and Head Coach Jody Hull are pleased to announce the addition of Bryan Helmer to the Petes coaching staff. [….] “Bryan has tremendous character, dedication and passion for the game” says Petes Head Coach Jody Hull.  “His accolades from his playing days speak volumes, over 1100 AHL games, 3 Calder Cups, and all-time leader for points by a defenseman in the AHL.”

Former Hershey Bears captain Bryan Helmer heads into coaching career after epic playing career (PennLive.com)

“I just enjoyed what I did for 20 years and the people that I met along the way and the friendships that I made and the teams that I played with,” Helmer said. “It really hasn’t sunk in what I did yet. I’m really proud of what I did in my career and I would never change it for the world.”

Helmer, Last Active Player from inaugural Rats Team, Retires (TimesUnion.com):

Former Albany River Rats defenseman and AHL legend Bryan Helmer has retired after a 20-year professional hockey career. The final player from the River Rats’ 1993-94 inaugural team to retire, Helmer will serve as an assistant coach for the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League next season. Helmer, 41, began his pro hockey career with the Rats in 1993, putting up four goals and 19 assists in 65 games for Albany during his rookie campaign. The next season he contributed seven goals and 36 assists in 77 games, helping the River Rats to their lone Calder Cup championship in 1995. …

Petes Name Hockey Vet to Assistant Coaching Post (PeterboroughExaminer.com)

Jody Hull took his time to find the right assistant coach and he’s glad he did.

The Peterborough Petes head coach believes he’s found the perfect fit in Bryan Helmer who just retired after a 20-year pro hockey career as a defencemen who played 146 NHL games, won three AHL Calder Cup titles and is the highest scoring defencemen in AHL history. …

Helmer Retires to Join Coaching Ranks (TheAHL.com)

Bryan Helmer, who played more games and recorded more assists and points than any defenseman in the 77-year history of the American Hockey League, has retired to become an assistant coach with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. …

Helmer, 41, played 20 seasons of professional hockey from 1993-2013, including 19 in the AHL. His 1,117 regular-season AHL games rank third all-time behind only forwards Willie Marshall (1,205) and Fred Glover (1,201), and his 435 assists and 564 points are both the most ever by an AHL defenseman. …

Helmer also played 159 postseason games in the AHL, most all-time, and his 60 Calder Cup Playoff points are the most by a blueliner. Helmer won Calder Cup championships in 1995 with the Albany River Rats, and in 2009 and 2010 as captain of the Hershey Bears. …

Bryan Helmer Walks Away after Great Career (American Hockey Blog):

After nearly 1300 AHL games, veteran defenceman Bryan Helmer has decided to hang them up. Helmer, 41, has accepted an assistant coaching position with the Peterborough Petes . The AHL’s all-time leader in points by a defenceman, Helmer has racked up 564 regular season points (129-435) and another 69 (15-54) in the playoffs. …