The Jason Christie era has officially begun for the Tulsa Oilers hockey club.
Christie was selected to replace Bruce Ramsay, who departed the Oilers last month to become the assistant coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins in the American Hockey League (AHL). Christie, 46, becomes the 11th head coach in Oilers franchise history after spending the past four seasons as the head coach of the Ontario Reign.
Ontario ceased operations as an ECHL club and will join the AHL as part of that league’s western expansion.
Christie guided the Reign to a 43-19-10 regular season record and a berth in the Western Conference Finals, nearly dethroning the Allen Americans who went on to win the 2014-15 ECHL Kelly Cup Championship.
“I’m honored to have this opportunity to coach in a place that has a hockey tradition like Tulsa,” Christie commented. “It feels great to be back in the middle of the country and to be part of an organization that is so well supported by the ownership and the fans. I’m looking forward to getting started on putting a great team on the ice.”
A native of Gibbons, Alberta, Christie has been a head coach for 13 seasons in the ECHL and CHL. He boasts a career coaching record of 520-304-105 (.616 winning percentage) and has led his teams to a total of 11 postseason appearances. With 483 victories in the ECHL, Christie ranks second on the league’s all-time coaching wins list and needs just nine wins to break the record held by John Marks.
“We expect if all goes well to be celebrating Jason as the winningest coach in ECHL history sometime in November.” Oilers general manager Taylor Hall quipped as he introduced him to the media and fans at the BOK Center yesterday.
Prior to his time in Ontario, Christie earned the Central Hockey League’s Coach of the Year award in the 2010-11 season for pushing the Bloomington Prairie Thunder to 37 wins and the franchise’s first playoff berth.
Christie served two seasons as an assistant coach with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL after three successful years as the head coach of the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL). During his Utah tenure, Christie earned two playoff trips in three seasons and in 2007-08, he helped the Grizzlies to Kelly Cup Semi-Finals, the deepest playoff run in franchise history.
“I’ve had success in the past because of the players and management around be being on the same page and striving for the same things,” said Christie. “I want to make sure our team in Tulsa has consistent effort every single game. Our fans need to see a hard-working team on the ice and players who are family oriented and willing to step out of their comfort zone to make the necessary sacrifices to win.”
Christie played 572 games over a 10-year career with eight teams in the AHL, ECHL, IHL, and in England.
The Oilers will begin their 24th consecutive season and second season in the ECHL on October 16th taking on longtime rival Wichita.