Here’s the press release from the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs: The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs are pleased to announce that Sam Ftorek has been named as the first-ever head coach of the organization. After concluding a magnificent 17-year playing career during the 2014-15 season, Ftorek made the transition to coaching and guided the Kalamazoo Wings to the ECHL playoffs this season as assistant coach. “We are ecstatic to have Sam join the Rail Yard Dawgs. We had a number of applicants for this position and it was important for us to hire someone who not only had great knowledge of the game, but also the ability to teach and grow our players, and most importantly, the desire to be an ambassador to the Roanoke community,” said Dawgs Vice President Mickey Gray. Sam was a great fit in every single category and he is going to be a great addition to this organization and community.” “My family and I are excited to be a part of the organization that is bringing hockey back to Roanoke,” said Ftorek. “I’ve had the opportunity to watch and learn from many great hockey minds and I’m really looking forward to starting this next stage of my career with a first-class organization that is taking the necessary steps to secure instant success on and off the ice.” When he was a player, Ftorek was known as a skilled forward, who for the betterment of his team reinvented himself as a solid and prolific scoring defenseman. During the 2013-14 season, at the age of 39, Ftorek led all ECHL defensemen in scoring with 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists). For his efforts, Ftorek was named to the ECHL’s First-Team. In total, Ftorek played in 1,097 career games as a player, including an ECHL record 837 contests. In his career, Ftorek has always been viewed as a leader including being one of the team captains in each of his six seasons with the Wings.” Coming from an excellent pedigree, Ftorek is the son of Robbie Ftorek, who played eight seasons in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings (2), Quebec Nordiques (3) and the New York Rangers (3). Robbie Ftorek also possesses an impressive coaching resume with 23 years experience, 10 of which were in the NHL. Ftorek, his wife, Misty, along with their three children will be moving to Roanoke in the near future.