Greenville, SC – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits announced, in conjunction with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, that assistant coach Phil Axtell has accepted a coaching offer in Dubuque with the USHL program. The Swamp Rabbits will immediately begin the search for a new assistant coach.
Axtell had previously coached the Quad City Mallards for three seasons before accepting an offer with Greenville. He has either coached or played the game of hockey in the Midwest for multiple seasons since 2004. Those stints included opportunities with the Quad City Mallards, Quad City Jr. Flames, and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.
“Phil was fully committed to the Swamp Rabbits for this season and was definitely torn by this decision,” said Donner. “At the end of the day, we wanted Phil to be comfortable in his decision. He felt this was the best opportunity for him but was fully aware of his commitment to this team. We gave him the ability to make his own choice and we wish him the best of luck.”
The Fighting Saints play in the United States Hockey League, the top junior hockey league in America. Axtell played two seasons in the league from 2004 to 2006 with Cedar Rapids. He captured the Clark Cup Championship in 2005 and ended his time with 48 points (28G, 20A) in 73 games. After joining the NCAA ranks in Michigan, he returned back to the Midwest to join the Mallards in the CHL.
“I want to thank the Swamp Rabbits for the opportunity. This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. Greenville is a first-class organization and I was very excited for the upcoming season,” said Axtell. “I want to thank Steve and Kevin for the opportunity and their understanding in this matter.”
The Swamp Rabbits will search for a new assistant coach and announce the decision in the coming months before opening the season on Friday, Oct. 12. The 7 p.m. game against the Toledo Walleye will officially open the 2018-19 ECHL season.
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