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07/13/2009 - FORMER ASSISTANT COACH PROMOTED AS HERSHEY PREPARES TO DEFEND ITS CALDER CUP CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2009-10   HERSHEY – The 2009 Calder Cup Champion HERSHEY BEARS announced today that Mark French has been named the 23rd head coach in team history.  The announcement was made today by BEARS President/GM Doug Yingst.   French ascends to the head coach's office at GIANT Center after serving as an assistant coach to Bob Woods since January, 2008. Prior to his assistant coaching duties with HERSHEY, he was the head coach and director of hockey operations for the Wichita Thunder (CHL) from 2005-07.  French also coached in the ECHL with the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies during the 2004-05 season, walking the bench as assistant coach as the Bullies posted a 42-21-9 record. Along with extensive professional coaching experience, he also brings considerable collegiate experience, having been the head coach at Wilfrid Laurier University from 2002-04.   "After a nationwide search and talking to dozens of qualified candidates to guide the fortunes of our team next season, we found the best man for the job already had an office at GIANT Center," said BEARS President/GM Doug Yingst.  "His knowledge of the game and his relationship with the players make him an outstanding choice."   A native of Milton, Ontario, French played college hockey at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario, serving as captain for three years there and received the prestigious "212 Degrees" annual award all four seasons, presented to the athlete who demonstrates leadership, commitment and excellence on the ice.   French, 38, becomes the 23rd head coach in HERSHEY BEARS history, succeeding Bob Woods who was promoted to the Washington Capitals last month. He lives in HERSHEY with his wife Kimberly.  They have two children, Ellie (2) and William, who was born during this past Calder Cup winning season.   Season tickets for the 2009-10 season are on sale now by calling (717) 508-BEAR.  Several ticket plans are available.  The 2009-10 schedule will be released by the American Hockey League in early August.

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