For immediate release

For more information, contact: Joel Silverberg, Director of Broadcasting (865) 525-7825,

The Knoxville Ice Bears have hired John Gurskis as the team’s ninth Head Coach in franchise history. Gurskis comes to Knoxville from the Wichita Thunder in the ECHL where he spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach.

“I’m excited for this opportunity and excited to get the season going,” said Gurskis. “I’d like to thank Mike Murray and Dave Feather for their hospitality, as well as our ownership group.”

A Brockton, Mass. native, Gurskis spent 11 seasons with the South Shore Kings junior team where he served as the General Manager and Head Coach across eras in the EmJHL, USPHL and NCDC divisions.

“This is a very exciting day for our organization,” said Ice Bears President and GM Mike Murray. “We had 66 people apply for this job. Everybody wants to be in Knoxville. We were looking for someone that knows the league, knows how to recruit players.”

Gurskis, 48, played 536 professional games as a player. He played against the Knoxville Speed in the UHL while in Fort Wayne in 1999 and spent parts of four seasons in the SPHL with Macon, Florida and Pee Dee/Twin City.

“I’ve played 50-75 games here as a visitor and I’m not gonna lie to you. I hated playing here and that’s a good thing, right?” Gurskis quipped. “I was never comfortable coming here as a visiting player and I think we need to get back to Knoxville Ice Bears hockey the way it once was.”

ABOUT The Knoxville Ice Bears: The Knoxville Ice Bears organization began in 2002 and was an inaugural charter member of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) in 2004. As four-time SPHL Champions and five-time regular season champions, the Ice Bears are an experienced and established organization, offering the city and its visitors a balanced product of highlight-reel hockey, unique and exciting intermission activity and endless fan interaction, presenting the most affordable, family-friendly way to enjoy sports and entertainment. Season, Partial Season and Flex Tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit or call (865) 525-7825.