Rivermen Re-Sign Coaches Trudel and Levine Through 2024-25

June 27, 2024 - 04:55 pm

PEORIA, IL – The Rivermen announced on Thursday that they have extended championship-winning head coach Jean-Guy Trudel and championship-winning assistant coach Eric Levine through the 2024-25 season.

 

“We are excited to come to terms with Coach Trudel as our General Manager and Head Coach to help mold again and guide our team on the ice for another season at Carver Arena, as we defend our President's Cup Championship,” said Rivermen President and COO Bart Rodgers. 

 

“His success the last decade guiding the Rivermen is second to none, consistently putting a winning product on the ice each year and making sure there is a commitment off the ice to build our great Rivermen brand.  There is no better teacher of the game than Coach Trudel. as he understands how to get the best out of each and every player that puts on that Rivermen jersey, which is important for our great fans in Central Illinois.”  

 

ABOUT JEAN-GUY TRUDEL

 

Jean-Guy Trudel enters his eleventh season behind the bench of the Peoria Rivermen and 12th year in Peoria. In ten seasons with the Rivermen, Trudel has amassed an overall 362-127-62 regular season record and a 31-21 post-season record.

 

Peoria has clinched a playoff spot in every season Trudel has been behind the bench. With his guidance, the Rivermen have been President’s Cup champions in 2022 and 2024 while capturing five William B. Coffey trophies as regular season champions during the 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2023 seasons. The Rivermen have also reached the President's Cup Finals under Trudel’s leadership in five postseasons (2016, 2017, 2018, 2022, and 2024).

 

Trudel captured the SPHL Coach of the Year award three times (2014-15, 15-16, and 17-18), becoming the first coach in SPHL history to win the award more than once. In 2023, Trudel made history as the first professional coach to be named Coach of the Year by the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame. Trudel’s 362 wins in the regular season rank second in SPHL history behind Jerome Bechard’s 368 of the now-defunct Columbus Cottonmouths. At the same time,  Trudel’s 31 post-season victories are the most of any coach in SPHL history. Trudel is the winningest coach in the Rivermen’s 42-year history and the only coach to lead the Rivermen to multiple championships.

 

“I am extremely excited to be back in Peoria and have Eric back with me on the bench this year,” Trudel said. “I am also excited about the challenges we will face this year with losing some key players and trying to find athletes that fit our culture. It will be a unique challenge but one which we are excited to overcome.”

 

A native of Sudbury, Ontario, in Canada, Trudel broke into professional hockey at 21 years old with the ECHL Rivermen.  Amidst frequent call-ups to the International Hockey League, Trudel still managed to put up 54 points (25g, 29a) in only 37 games.  He returned the next season and racked up 113 points (39g, 74a) in only 62 games.  He finished just six points back of Jamey Hicks (Birmingham) for the ECHL scoring title and appeared in eight fewer games. A starter for Team Canada at the 1998 ECHL All-Star Game, Trudel also ranked second on the team with 147 penalty minutes that season. 

 

He graduated to the IHL/AHL ranks the next season and his success continued. He went on to become an AHL all-star four times in the next five seasons with Springfield from 1999-2002 and Houston in 2002-03, winning the 2003 Calder Cup with the Aeros. He also appeared in five NHL games with Phoenix and Minnesota. After four seasons in Switzerland playing for Ambri-Piotta, Trudel returned for one season with the AHL Rivermen in 2007-08.  He led the team in assists (44) and points (67) in 78 games that year.  He returned to Switzerland for the next two years and retired after the 2009-10 season.

 

Inducted into the Peoria Rivermen Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011, Trudel played 177 games for Peoria over parts of three seasons. Overall, he finished with 234 points (87g, 147a) and had another 19 points in 12 ECHL playoff games between 1996 and 1998.

 

ABOUT ERIC LEVINE

 

After a distinguished nine-year playing career, goaltender Eric Levine was announced on Thursday, October 19, 2023 as the new Assistant Coach with the Peoria Rivermen following Alec Hagaman's decision to step down from coaching duties and resume his playing career for one final season. Levine came to Peoria with a plethora of experience at the SPHL, ECHL, and AHL levels of hockey.

 

In his first year as an assistant coach, Eric helped guide the Rivermen to a 37-14-1-3 regular season record and the second-best team goals-against average in the SPHL. Rivermen goaltenders, under Levine’s guidance, combined for seven shutouts on the season, the most of any team in the league this year.

 

“The Rivermen organization has a long history with the city of Peoria and winning is part of that history. Helping to build a team that represents that winning culture and embodies what these great fans have come to expect in the SPHL is a privilege,” Levine said. “Working with Jean-Guy Trudel last season was a dream situation in my transition from player to coach. No coach has had more sustained success than him, and the amount of passion and knowledge he brings to our athletes every day is contagious. I’m eager to continue that development and help bring another championship to the River City!”

 

Eric Levine, a former goaltending standout for the Rivermen joined the staff after a nine-year professional career (six seasons with the Rivermen) at the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL levels. Levine is a President’s Cup champion and the SPHL leader in career shutouts. Levine is also the owner of Midwest Goalie Academy, a premier goaltender camp based in Chicago.