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Burt named Rush head coach

Wednesday, July 7th
Photo of Scott Burt

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Rapid City Rush, ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes, announced that Scott Burt has been named the team’s Head Coach/Director of Hockey Operations. Burt becomes the fourth person to assume the mantle as the team enters its 14th season of hockey this October.

Burt takes over as bench boss for the Rush following a season as the Assistant Coach of the division rival Idaho Steelheads. In his lone coaching season in Boise in 2019-20, he helped guide the Steelheads to a 36-18-3-4 record in 61 games prior to the season’s conclusion due to Covid-19. That year, Idaho was one of only seven teams in the entire ECHL to amass 20 or more wins on home ice.

Prior to joining the Steelheads, Burt served six seasons as the Assistant Coach of the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs. With Spokane, Burt coached alongside  Don Nachbaur, a former Assistant Coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, and Dan Lambert, current Assistant Coach of the NHL’s Nashville Predators. He helped the Chiefs to playoff appearances in five of his six seasons on the bench, advancing as far as the Western Conference Finals in 2019. Burt also helped develop young talent that advanced to play in the National Hockey League, including 2021 World Champion Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Los Angeles Kings), 2020 World Junior Champion and 2021 NHL All-Rookie selection Ty Smith (New Jersey Devils), and two-time World Junior Championship bronze medalist and AHL All-Star Kailer Yamamoto (Edmondton Oilers).

His coaching career began with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces as an Assistant Coach for a pair of seasons from 2011-13, serving under Rob Murray, the current Head Coach of the division rival Tulsa Oilers. There, the former Aces' captain made the playoffs in both of his seasons on the bench, reaching the 2012 Western Conference Finals and 2013 Western Conference Semifinals. He also helped coach the Aces to a 2013 Brabham Cup title with an ECHL-best 49-15-8 record for 106 points.

“This is an exciting day for the Rush organization, and our community of Rapid City as we begin a new era. I am honored and thrilled to announce Scott Burt as the fourth Head Coach in Rapid City Rush history,” said Spire Hockey President Todd Mackin. “When we began this process in June, I expressed that I wanted our new coach to be a community leader, young and energetic, and to be a winner. ‘Burtie’ checks every single one of those boxes. He has worked tirelessly as an assistant coach over the last decade to earn this opportunity to lead a team of his own. He’s developed elite talent that’s achieved great things in the NHL and internationally, he’s worked with many different coaches and players, and is incredibly well-respected in our league. He understands what goes into a playoff and championship culture. His name is on the Kelly Cup three different times, and I look forward to watching him work towards a fourth etching of his name on that trophy with our organization in the seasons to come.”

A native of Mackenzie, British Columbia, Burt, 44, began the coaching phase of his career following 13 seasons as a forward in the West Coast Hockey League, ECHL and American Hockey League. Over his 586 career games in the ECHL with Wheeling, Toledo, Idaho, Utah and Alaska, he amassed 356 points (149g-207a) and 1,067 penalty minutes in 586 games. As a player, Burt made the playoffs in all but two of his 13 seasons, played for his league championship on six different occasions, and twice was named the captain of his team, rotating as Steelheads Captain in 2007 while also serving as Aces' captain from 2009-11. Burt is a three-time Kelly Cup champion, one of only six people with his name on the ECHL’s most coveted prize three times, winning titles with Idaho in 2004 and 2007, and in his final professional season with the Aces in 2011.

“On behalf of my wife, Audrey, and my daughter, Sophie, I want to thank Spire Sports + Entertainment, Jeff Dickerson, and Todd Mackin for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started here with the Rush. This is very exciting for all of us,” said Scott Burt, the new Head Coach/Director of Hockey Operations of the Rush. “I’d also like to thank the Idaho Steelheads organization for their first-class treatment of me and my family. I hold that organization in high regard for how they allowed me as a coach to do my job and develop towards this opportunity, and for how they promoted cohesiveness between the front office, hockey operations, and the fans. I plan to bring that back here to Rapid City as the new Head Coach.

“Talking with Todd and Jeff, they want nothing more than the absolute best for this team and community. They have a vision for this organization in addition to my own, so I will do the very best I can to move forward in accomplishing that for them,” he continued. “Doing my research on this team and this community, this was a desired place to play in the earlier CHL days. I want to bring that back here. I’m going to put together a team that plays similarly to how I played: hard, physical, and gritty. We’re going to go to the dirty areas to score. Teams are going to remember playing us because of how hard we’re going to work night in and night out. I want players that are excited: excited for Rapid City, excited to move up to Tucson or to Arizona, and excited to play hockey. My job is to bring that excitement to the game and to the community and maximize our players’ and team’s potential. I love video and taking the time to show our players what they did, and at the end of the day show them what they need to do to become better. With this, I want to implement a culture where everyone comes to the rink and learns something, grows, and we all get better each day. If I, or my assistant, can make everyone on our team just 1% better each day, we’re going to be a dangerous team. My goal is to bring this team back to playing consistent playoff hockey. I can’t wait to get started with our fans and community this season.”

Overall, in his 13-year professional playing career, Burt earned 461 points (203g-259a) and 1,266 penalty minutes in 739 games. Prior to turning professional, he played in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels, registering 172 points (85g-87a) and 354 penalty minutes in 254 games.

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