When they played junior hockey, Ray Edwards spent two seasons chasing John Slaney around the ice.

Edwards, the new head coach of the Portland Pirates, knows exactly where Slaney will be during the upcoming AHL season.

He’ll be standing down at the other end of the bench helping Edwards coach the Pirates.

The Phoenix Coyotes, now the Pirates’ parent team, announced Thursday that Slaney had been hired as Portland’s assistant coach.

“We’re really excited about having him,” Edwards said. “He’s had a long playing career and he has a lot of knowledge. He’s embarking on a new career and we’re happy to have him come to work with us.”

Slaney, 39, joins the Pirates after finishing his 20-year playing career last season with HC Plzen in the Czech Republic.

A native of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Slaney was selected by the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 1990 NHL draft. In 268 NHL games, Slaney had 22 goals and 69 assists while playing for the Capitals, Colorado, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

He also had two goals and one assist in 14 games in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

This will be Slaney’s second stint with the Pirates. During the 1993-94 Calder Cup championship season, he played in 37 games for Portland before he was called up by the Caps. The next season, he had 17 goals and 23 assists for the Pirates.

“I remember my days in Portland. They were fun,” Slaney said. “I was only 21 when I was there as a player. Now I’m coming in with a family. My wife and kids are really excited.”

Slaney also spent nine seasons in the AHL and three full seasons in Europe.

“When I was in Wilkes-Barre, I got hurt and they asked me to go behind the bench and I enjoyed it,” he said. “The last three or four years I was in Philadelphia (with AHL Phantoms), they asked my to teach the young players and I really enjoyed it.

“When my playing days were over, I wanted to get into coaching. I wanted to keep teaching kids and developing players.”

Edwards said the team still needs to find someone to fill its video coaching needs.

“I’m sure that position will be combined with other areas of responsibilities,” he said.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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Twitter: PaulBetitPPH