KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Ice Bears are in search of a new leader after the team announced Thursday that reigning SPHL Coach of the Year Jeff Carr has been hired by the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL.

Carr will join the Admirals, a professional team affiliated with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and AHL’s Chicago Wolves, as an assistant coach. The ECHL is one tier below the American Hockey League, both of which are minor leagues where players on entry-level NHL contracts often play to begin their professional development.

The Eagle River, WI native was the sixth head coach in franchise history, serving in the role since 2017. Last year, the Ice Bears won their first regular season title since 2009 and recorded a league-record of 42 regular season wins. The prolific season earned Carr the 2021-2022 Coach of the Year Award.

“We’re exceptionally happy for Jeff as he takes this new step in his career,” said Ice Bears President and General Manager Mike Murray. “We appreciate his commitment to maintaining the tradition, professionalism and excellence of our organization over the last five years. We’ll raise another banner on October 21 as a result of his contributions and we wish him nothing but success as he moves forward in his coaching career.”

Carr finished his Ice Bears tenure with a record of 151-83-24. The 2021-2022 regular season title is an SPHL-record fifth for the Ice Bears. Since the league was founded in 2002, the Ice Bears are the only team to make the postseason every single year.

Knoxville will host its Free Agent Camp on Oct. 7-8, followed by a preseason camp. A banner commemorating the record-setting 2021-2022 season will be unveiled during its opening night on Friday, Oct. 21.