The Checkers didn’t have to look far for their new bench boss as Ryan Warsofsky has been named the fifth head coach in franchise history.

Warsofsky, 31, is the youngest head coach hired in the AHL since 2000. He served as Charlotte’s assistant coach last season under Mike Vellucci, who departed earlier this offseason to become head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Along with helping to guide the Checkers to their first ever Calder Cup, Warsofsky ran the AHL’s top penalty killing unit, taking Charlotte from a 24th-ranked 81.2 percent in 2017-18 to a league-leading 86.6 percent this past season. He also headed up a defensive corps that ranked second in the AHL by allowing just 2.49 goals per game.

“We’ve been very impressed with Ryan since he joined our organization,” said Carolina GM Don Waddell in a release. “He was a big part of the Checkers’ championship season last year and we’re excited to have him take over as Head Coach.”

This marks Warsofsky’s first head coaching gig in the AHL but not in the pro ranks, as he spent two seasons at the helm of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. The Massachusetts native went 88-44-10-2 during his tenure from 2016-2018 and became the second-youngest coach in league history to lead a team to the finals when he guided the Stingrays to a Kelly Cup appearance in 2017.

Warsofsky served as South Carolina’s assistant coach for the three seasons prior after beginning his pro coaching career in 2012-13 as an assistant at Curry College.

As a player, Warsofsky appeared in 71 NCAA games over four years at Sacred Heart and Curry College, posting 47 points (13g, 34a) from the blue line. He then played a season of pro hockey in 2011-12, making appearances in Belgium, the CHL and the FHL.

Warsofsky follows Vellucci (2017-2019), Ulf Samuelsson (2016-17), Mark Morris (2015-16) and Jeff Daniels (2010-2015). He is also the first of that group to be hired from within the organization’s coaching ranks.