Kirk MacDonald was named Royals Head Coach in May 2017 and is entering his first full season as the Royals Head Coach. Last season, MacDonald served as an assistant under Larry Courville and was named Interim Head Coach with three games remaining in the 2016-17 season, going 3-0-0-0. In the 2017 playoffs, the Royals bowed out in six games of the North Division Semifinals to the Brampton Beast.
This season is MacDonald‘s first as a professional head coach and fourth season with the Royals. MacDonald served as an assistant coach from 2014-17 and has made the Kelly Cup Playoffs every year he’s been on the Royals staff.
In 2013-14, he served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York.
As a pro player, MacDonald recorded 217 points (96g) and 358 penalty minutes in 406 games over seven-plus seasons. He played 272 of those games in the AHL and 24 Calder Cup Playoff games.
In the ECHL, MacDonald had two stints with the Royals and one was during the 2012-13 Championship season. MacDonald racked up 38 points (16g, 22a) and 57 penalty minutes during the regular season, then played every playoff game (22 GP, 4g, 8a). Two of MacDonald’s playoff goals were short-handed, one of which proved to be the game-winning mark in the series-deciding Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. Cincinnati.
Prior to turning pro, MacDonald had a stellar four-season and five-year career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After leading R.P.I. in goals (16) and points (36)—and being selected the team’s MVP—in his junior season (2004-05), MacDonald was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which kept him out of action the following year. In 2006-07, MacDonald returned for his senior season, leading the team in goals (12) and tied for the team lead in points (27). For his efforts, MacDonald, who served as the team captain that season, was voted as R.P.I.’s Most Inspirational Player. That year, MacDonald received the Livingston W. Houston Citizenship Award at RPI honoring the ‘First Citizen of the College,” for character, leadership, scholarship and athletic ability and was also a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is awarded to college hockey’s finest citizen.
A 2013 Kelly Cup Champion with the Royals as a defenseman, Patrick Wellar rejoined Reading as an assistant coach on June 13, 2017. He is one of three players in ECHL league history to claim the Kelly Cup Championship thrice.
Last season, Wellar served as an assistant coach for the Cincinnati Cyclones. While in the Ohio Valley, he and Cincinnati Head Coach Matt MacDonald led the Cyclones to a record of 36-29-6-1 and a fifth place finish in the South Division of the ECHL’s Eastern Conference.
Wellar began his "formal" coaching career (he was a player-assistant the last two seasons of his career) with the Cyclones after completing a twelve-year professional playing career. He was a member of four championship teams, including the 2013 Royals when he and Kirk MacDonald were integral members of the Royals’ championship team.
A third-round pick of the Washington Capitals in 2002, Wellar logged almost 750 regular season pro games, which included over 300 in the American Hockey League. Wellar played in six separate seasons with the Hershey Bears and won the 2010 Calder Cup (AHL).
Wellar also played 441 regular season games in the ECHL, which included two stints with the Royals. Wellar won his first championship in 2006 with the Alaska Aces. In 2008-09, Wellar began the year with the Royals playing twenty-five games with Reading (1g, 7a) before getting recalled to Hershey. After being reassigned to South Carolina, Wellar went on to claim the 2009 ECHL championship.
Wellar returned to Reading for the 2012-13 season when he played thirty-seven regular season games (2g, 13a), was recalled by Hershey, and returned to the Royals for Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Cincinnati Cyclones. Wellar and his teammates knocked off the Cyclones in in five games. They did the same to the Stockton Thunder in the 2013 Kelly Cup Finals, ending the series in five.
PATRICK WELLAR’S PLAYING CAREER
Selected by Washington Capitals, Third Round (#77 Overall), NHL Entry Draft (2002)
Selected, Team Captain, Calgary Hitmen, Western Hockey League (2003-04)
Selected to Represent Peoria Rivermen, ECHL All-Star Game, Reading, PA (2005)
Member, Kelly Cup Championship Team, Alaska Aces, ECHL (2006)
Led Team, Scoring by a Defenseman (8g-20a=28pts), Columbia Inferno, ECHL (2007-08)
Member, Kelly Cup Championship Team, South Carolina Stingrays, ECHL (2009)
Member, Calder Cup Championship Team, Hershey Bears, AHL (2010)
Third on Team, Penalty Minutes (120), Hershey Bears, AHL (2010-11)
Member, Kelly Cup Championship Team, Reading Royals (2013)