David Bell becomes the 3rd coach in Belleville Senators franchise history
After doing solid work following the firing of Belleville Senators ex-coach Troy Mann, David Bell will be back behind the bench to start the 2023-24 AHL season. Bell coached the team for the final 29 games of the 2022-23 season, producing an impressive record of 14-9-6, it’s clear once promoted that Bell had gotten through to the group in Belleville.
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Before getting into coaching, Bell enjoyed a successful playing career as a defenceman. The rough-and-tumble rearguard played 4 seasons with the Ottawa 67s of the OHL before playing several seasons split between the AHL and ECHL. Bell would eventually retire after trying his hand at numerous professional leagues, at just 27 years old the Wiarton, Ontario native would get an early jump behind the bench.
Bell would kick off his coaching career as an Assistant Coach with the Owen Sound Attack, holding the position for three seasons (04-07) before moving onto the professional ranks. Bell signed on as an assistant coach with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL but only coached there for two seasons (07-09).
At the age of 32 Bell returned back to the OHL, once again as an assistant coach, this time with the Barrie Colts, another two-year pit stop (09-11). Bell then moved on to the Quad City Mallards of the CHL, this time as a Head Coach and General Manager. Missing the playoffs in his first (and only) season with the franchise, he would once again make his way to a new situation.
Bell would make his final stop at the junior ranks, coaching as an assistant coach with the Sudbury Wolves (12-13) before making a pivotal move to Niagara the following season. The journeyman coach would enjoy three successful seasons (13-16) before being promoted to head coach for the 2016-17 season.
At the expiration of the 16-17 season, Bell would coach his last game in the OHL, moving to the AHL once again as an Assistant Coach, this time the path would follow a more linear path. He would be a member of the Mike Stothers staff behind the Ontario Reign for both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons before becoming an integral part of the Belleville Senators organization.
Bell joined Troy Mann’s staff in Belleville for the 2019-20 season, mainly as a coach for the defencemen on the roster, and was an important part of numerous defenceman’s progression over those years. Players such as Erik Brannstrom, Lassi Thomson, and Jacob Bernard-Docker all grew into the players they are today under Bell’s tutelage. With the aforementioned firing of Troy Mann in Belleville, Bell filled in admirably down the stretch of the 2022-23 season.
With a full offseason ahead of Bell and his coaching staff, he should be in a comfortable spot for growth and development prior to next season.
At just 46, Bell has the chance to develop with a young Belleville Senators squad that will look to make their first playoff appearance in franchise history.