Frank to coach Great Falls team

(Courtesy: Billings Gazette)

GREAT FALLS — Billings native Matt Frank has been hired as the coach and general manager of the new Great Falls Americans team in the Northern Pacific Hockey League.

Team owner Jim Keough said Frank has been signed to a two-year contract to guide the Junior A Tier III club.

“Being an expansion team like we are, we’re going to need a good coach and recruiter,” Keough told the Great Falls Tribune. “Matt has experience in junior hockey in the Atlanta area and he’s made a lot of contacts. He’ll be in charge of all trades and recruiting.”

Frank, 27, is a 2002 graduate of Billings Skyview. He played three seasons with the Bozeman Icedogs Junior A club, then played four years of college hockey at Ferris State in Michigan. He currently works as a coach for the Atlanta Knights Junior Hockey Association, which operates Junior A and Junior B teams in Georgia.

“This is a good opportunity for me to become a head coach at a higher level,” Frank told the Tribune. “It’s a great area and I’ll be closer to home.”

 Frank said the national tournament for his Atlanta-based Junior squad is March 25-29 and he plans to be on the job in Great Falls by April 15.

“I’ve got some kids on my team and the upper-division team here who I would like to bring up there,” said Frank. “These are kids I’ve coached one or two years and know what to expect from me. I think experience is important when you’re building an expansion team.”

Frank said he will conduct at least one tryout camp in Great Falls in August.

Great Falls will be in the NorPac America West division next season with the Billings Bulls, Bozeman Icedogs, Butte Roughriders, Helena Bighorns, Missoula Maulers, Yellowstone Quake (Cody, Wyo.) and an expansion team from the Flathead Valley.