Hershey Bears President/GM Doug Yingst enters his 29th season with the organization in 2010-11, after overseeing the team’s 11th Calder Cup championship last season. Hershey's back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, as well as the club’s win in 2006 have all come under Yingst’s stewardship and the team’s affiliation with the Washington Capitals. Working in tandem with Washington VP/GM George McPhee, Yingst once again brought the front line talent and necessary roster depth to central PA as the Bears defeated the Texas Stars four games to two in the 2010 Calder Cup Finals. It marked the first time in AHL history a team rallied to win after losing the first two games of the series at home, and for Yingst, it was his fourth Calder Cup victory. The four championships tie an AHL record, jointly held by several, including Frank Mathers.
The Bears have recorded the best five-year run in American Hockey League history, winning three titles and advancing to a fourth Final appearance in 2007. With no fewer than 27 teams in the league during that time, the Chocolate and White have played hockey in June four times since 2006. For his efforts, Yingst was presented with the Thomas Ebright Award, given for outstanding service to the AHL. Yingst also claimed the James Hendy Award in 2006, presented to the outstanding executive of the year in the league. He is only one of four men in league history to win the award twice.
During the current affiliation agreement with the Capitals, the Bears posted an American Hockey League record 60 wins in 2009-10, and also won a then-franchise record 51 games in 2006-07 under current Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. The agreement between the two franchises has not only produced many players for the NHL level, but also two members of the coaching staff that have worked closely with Yingst. Boudreau was promoted in November, 2007 to become Washington’s head coach, and Bob Woods was named the team’s assistant coach in the summer of 2009. Woods claimed the 2009 Calder Cup title, following in Boudreau’s footsteps soon after. Current head coach Mark French then won the 2010 title, the third straight coach under Yingst to win a title.
Yingst has been Hershey's President/GM since the 1998-99 season, and represents the club on the AHL’s Board of Governors. In 2010-11, he was named the chairman of the league’s Executive Committee, and has served previously as chairman of the AHL’s Competition and Marketing Committees. Yingst was first named Hershey's general manager in 1996-97, winning the Calder Cup in his first season with new job responsibilities. From 1991-96, he was the Assistant GM/Director of Hockey Operations for the team, and from 1988-91 served as Assistant General Manager under the legendary Frank S. Mathers. Yingst began his long run in the Hershey organization as the sales and promotions director in 1982, and also won the AHL’s Ken McKenzie award in 1988, given annually by the AHL to the person judged to have done the most to promote his team.
One of Yingst’s greatest accomplishments in hockey came in February of 2000, when his Hershey Jr. Bears hockey team won the 2000 Quebec Cup in Quebec City. It was a feat repeated in February of 2009 and again in February, 2010 when the Jr. Bears repeated as Quebec Cup champions, the same two years that Hershey won back-to-back Calder Cup titles. Often compared to the Little League World Series in the United States, the Quebec Pee-Wee International Cup tournament brings more than 100 youth hockey teams to Quebec City every year.
Yingst has been called into service from time-to-time as Hershey's assistant coach, most recently in 2007 when Bruce Boudreau was named head coach of the Washington Capitals. In 2003, with head coach Mike Foligno hospitalized, Yingst teamed with interim head coach Paul Fixter to win Game 3 of the 2003 Western Conference Quarterfinals over the Chicago Wolves. It was also the first playoff game win for the Bears in Giant Center history.
A terrific all-around athlete, Yingst is a charter member of the Palmyra High School Sports Hall-of-Fame. He was inducted into the Central Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in November of 2000.
Mark French begins his second season as Hershey's head coach after being named the 23rd bench boss in team history on July 13, 2009. His first season as head coach behind the bench at Giant Center was nothing short of remarkable, leading the Chocolate and White to an American Hockey League record 60 wins, numerous franchise records and a Calder Cup championship.
While the Bears had won 10 Calder Cups prior to French taking the controls, none of the 10 prior to last season can compare to the records and achievements that his team produced. On French’s watch, Hershey piled up a franchise record 123 points and won an American Hockey League record 60 games in the regular season. The Chocolate and White were unbeatable at home at midseason, winning 24 straight games from late November to mid March. Overall, the Bears won 34 home games, another AHL record. Under French, the Bears also won a franchise record 26 road games, won a franchise record 12 games in a row, and went storming into the 2010 Calder Cup playoffs as the undisputed favorite to win the title. French’s team proved the regular season was no fluke, winning 16 more games to win the Calder Cup four games to two over the Texas Stars. The Bears became the first team in AHL history to win a championship when losing the first two games of the finals, speaking to the resiliency of French’s team. Hershey also won an AHL record eight overtime games in the 2010 Calder Cup playoffs, and allowed the fewest shots (7) in a single playoff game in league history (against Bridgeport in Game 5 of the East Division Semi-Finals). It was without question, the best debut of a head coach in the 75-year history of the American Hockey League.
French served as assistant coach under Bob Woods, first joining the Bears on January 2, 2008. With Woods and French at the helm, the Bears won 49 games during the regular season prior to winning the team’s 10th Calder Cup championship in June, 2009. Prior to his tenure in Hershey, French was the head coach and director of hockey operations for the Wichita Thunder (CHL) from 2005 to 2007. He was responsible for player recruitment and contract negotiations with players while with the Thunder, and also managed the team’s operating budget. French also served as assistant coach of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (ECHL) during the 2004-05 campaign when the team put up a 42-21-9 record. Mark’s coaching resume isn’t just limited to pro hockey, as he also walked the bench at Wilfred Laurier University (CIS) and was the assistant coach/assistant general manager of the North Bay Centennials from 1999-2002 in the Canadian Hockey League.
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.
A native of Milton, Ontario, French lives in Hershey with his wife Kimberly and children Ellie and William.
Troy Mann begins his second season in Hershey, named as the team’s assistant coach on July 13, 2009 under Mark French. His first season in Chocolatetown was literally one for the record books, as the Bears won a combined 76 regular and postseason games to win the 2010 Calder Cup.
Mann oversaw a penalty kill unit that ranked number one in the AHL during the regular season, and along with Mark French, piloted the team into the 2010 Calder Cup playoffs as the number one seed. Hershey's win over the Texas Stars in the 2010 Calder Cup Finals marked the first time that Mann won an AHL title.
Mann comes to Hershey after serving as associate head coach of the Charlotte Checkers (ECHL) in 2008-09. Prior to his stint with the Checkers, Mann was the head coach of the Columbia Inferno (ECHL) for two seasons from 2006-08. Under his guidance, the Inferno advanced to the third round of the 2008 ECHL Kelly Cup playoffs.
As a player, Mann won the ECHL’s Kelly Cup while playing for the Mississippi Sea Wolves in 1998-99. He was a teammate of current Washington Capitals assistant coach Bob Woods that season, and the pair both played for current Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau during that championship run. Mann scored a career-high 33 goals for Mississippi during the 1996-97 campaign.
Mann is a native of Campbellton, New Brunswick. He and his wife Lori and daughter Larissa live in Harrisburg.