Jason Payne named first Black head coach in Cyclones history

Jason Payne named first Black head coach in Cyclones history
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 2:45 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2021 at 4:38 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The Cincinnati Cyclones have named Jason Payne as head coach, making him the first Black head coach in team history.

Payne is currently the only minority head coach in professional hockey and just the third in the ECHL’s 33 year existence.

This announcement follows the departure of former Cyclones Head Coach Matt Thomas who was named the assistant coach for the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League.

“I would like to thank our ownership group, Ray Harris, and Kristin Ropp for trusting in me and believing in my abilities,” Payne said in a statement released by the team. “I am humbled, grateful, and excited for this amazing opportunity. I would like to thank Matt Thomas for all that he has done to support the Cyclones and for giving me my first opportunity at the professional level as a member of his staff. I would also like to congratulate him on his recent hire as the assistant coach with the Providence Bruins and joining the Boston Bruins organization.”

Payne, who played 14 seasons of professional hockey including a stint with Cincinnati’s Mighty Ducks, has served as an assistant coach, scout, skills coach and skating coach. He joined the Cyclones as an assistant coach prior to the start of the 2018-19 season.

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