PORTLAND — An original Portland Pirate is returning.

John Slaney, a defenseman who played on the Portland Pirates’ inaugural team that won the Calder Cup, was named as an assistant coach for the Pirates today.

Slaney, 39, retired after last season, when he played for Plzen HC in the Czech Republic. He was originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in the first round (ninth pick overall) of the 1990 NHL draft. His NHL career spanned 268 games with seven teams.

Slaney is regarded as one of the AHL’s greatest defensemen ever, twice winning the Eddie Shore Award given to the league’s top defenseman. He scored 519 points in the AHL, a mark that ranks second all-time.

Slaney played in 37 games for the Pirates in their 1993-94 championship season, then spent the following season in Portland, scoring 17 goals and 23 assists.

“I am very excited to have been offered this great opportunity to begin my coaching career for a great organization in a thriving hockey town,’’ said Slaney in a press release. “Portland is a great spot for young players to learn, understand their game and also develop their skills to become a better all-around hockey player.

“I look forward to working with Ray (Edwards) in preparing our young players for the next level in the same place where it all started for my playing career.’’

Edwards said Slaney’s vast experience will benefit his young defensemen.

“Due to our past experience competing against each other I know that John can teach the game at a high level,’’ said Edwards.