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Ex-Lightning coach back

Published Sep. 29, 2005

Former assistant Rick Paterson is named the professional scout.

Rick Paterson said he likes the changes in the Lightning organization since Palace Sports & Entertainment bought the team, and he wants to be a part of it.

Paterson, who was fired as an assistant coach the day after coach Jacques Demers was let go, was hired as the team's professional scout, it was announced Monday.

"The ownership is strong and solid," he said. "I think that the ownership has always been a bit of an issue in the back of the players' and management's mind. Now it's an extremely solid ownership which has a sports background and knows what it takes."

Paterson, 41, said he received "feelers" about a coaching position in the East Coast Hockey League.

"But I like the direction the (Lightning) is heading, and I know it's an important position within the organization," he said. "And they seem to have some faith in me. I'm sort of excited about it."

Paterson was pro scout for the 1991-92 Penguins and prepared the strategy for each of their opponents on the way to their second straight Stanley Cup.

"This is something Rick has done very successfully in the past," Rick Dudley, the Lightning's vice president of hockey operations and general manager, said in a statement. "He has a good eye for talent."

Paterson was a Penguins assistant from 1990-93. He was coach of the IHL's Cleveland Lumberjacks from 1993-97. He was hired as a Lightning assistant under Terry Crisp in 1997 and served as interim head coach for six games before Demers was hired Nov. 12.

Paterson said he will be on the road 20 days every month and will see between 120 and 140 games next season.

"It makes you more well-rounded to do this," he said. "I think it's an opportunity to see what's out there, and it's a different side of the business. I think it's great in our business, in hockey, to get to know more about the organization, and that makes me a more valuable employee."

_ Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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