Clifton Park

Clifton Park native MacArthur named Adirondack Thunder head coach

Peter MacArthur, center, addresses the audience at the press conference in which he was named the Adirondack Thunder head coach Tuesday at The Bullpen Tavern. Left is Jeff Mead, general manager of Cool Insuring Arena and the Thunder’s president of business operations. Right is Claude Loiselle, the Thunder’s governor.
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Peter MacArthur, center, addresses the audience at the press conference in which he was named the Adirondack Thunder head coach Tuesday at The Bullpen Tavern. Left is Jeff Mead, general manager of Cool Insuring Arena and the Thunder’s president of business operations. Right is Claude Loiselle, the Thunder’s governor.

GLENS FALLS — Peter MacArthur was involved in a trade Tuesday – his uniform for a sport coat, tie and dress slacks.

The Clifton Park native who served as captain of the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder this past season was named the team’s new head coach and director of hockey operations in a ceremony at The Bullpen Tavern. MacArthur, who turned 37 Monday, replaces Alex Loh, who was fired after three seasons with an overall record of 87 wins, 97 losses, 18 overtime losses and eight shootout losses. The Thunder were 27-40-4-0 in 2021-22 and failed to make the playoffs.

MacArthur played for his father for two years at Shenendehowa before playing two years at Northwood Prep and then playing four years at Boston University. He graduated in 2008 and began his 14-year pro career.

He played 190 games in the AHL and finished with 29 goals and 57 assists. He also played in the ECHL as well as German, Austrian and Alps leagues, but he spent the most time with the Thunder, with whom he had 53 goals and 122 assists over four seasons.

Claude Loiselle, a former Adirondack Red Wing, member of the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame and the Thunder’s governor, said that 25 people applied for the job and nine were interviewed. He said what the interview committee wanted was a character individual, someone involved in the community and someone that could effectively communicate with young players.

“Today’s young players, it’s not just, ‘do this, do that,’ they need to know why,” said Loiselle, who noted that MacArthur blew the committee away with his organization. “His second interview, he came in with a chalkboard and was drawing up plays.”

MacArthur has been a consistent veteran voice for the Thunder and has occasionally been behind the bench when recovering from an injury. He also served as an assistant coach for Skidmore College when he could.

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve done things away from playing, specifically working with younger players, [and] you realize it’s fun to pass on that knowledge and you realize how to pass it on so they know what you’re talking about and what you’ve gone through,” MacArthur said. “The second-best thing to playing is coaching, so now I’m afforded the opportunity to use my knowledge and spread it to younger players.”

MacArthur knows he will have challenges as a first-time head coach.

“I’m going to have to improve my rapport with the referees right off the bat,” MacArthur said, laughing. “The heat of the moment gets a little fiery out there on the ice. Now it’s just a different side of the coin. I have had some experience being behind the players on the bench, and it’s a comfortable spot for me.”

As far as X’s and O’s, MacArthur acknowledged the league has become more speed-oriented, but said he would like to have “a few bigger guys who are willing to stand up for their teammates, especially on home ice.

“But what you will see,” he added, “is a unit of five on the ice, a cohesive unit. If you watch a video and you can’t see five guys, it’s not good. That will help toward the issues we had defensively.”

As far as how he will motivate players, MacArthur said he won’t change anything from what he did as a player.

“Just give an honest effort and care about people around you and be prepared,” he said.

MacArthur knows it may take some time for his ultimate goal: to raise another banner in the former Glens Falls Civic Center now known as Cool Insuring Arena.

“The last thing I do every game I play is to look at those banners,” MacArthur said. “Never had a chance to raise one. If you’re in pro hockey or any type of league, you should want to be the last man standing at the end of the year, and only one team gets to do it.”

MacArthur announced that he has signed two players already: Colin Long, who played 33 games for the Thunder last season, and Albany native and 2017 Union College graduate Jeff Taylor, who has split his career between the ECHL and AHL.

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