Kevin Colley

The Utah Grizzlies named Kevin Colley as their new head coach Thursday just one day after announcing the departure of former coach Jason Christie.

"We did not have to go far in our search," Grizzlies CEO Kevin Bruder said in regards to elevating Colley from Christie's assistant to head coach and director of hockey operations.

The 29-year-old Colley becomes the youngest head coach in the ECHL. He joined the Grizzlies in August 2007 after retiring from the New York Islanders when he sustained a career-ending neck injury.

Although lacking in coaching experience, Colley feels his age is a plus.

"I think I can relate to the players better than anyone," he said. "I have that drive and commitment. My emphasis will be to win a Kelly Cup and I want to instill that attitude in the locker room."

Colley's credentials include a 2003 Kelly Cup playoffs MVP award when he led Atlantic City to the ECHL championship. He played about one year in the NHL before his injury forced his retirement.

He hopes to build a club centered around team spirit, unity and a winning atmosphere.

"I want to get these guys to know what it takes to win a championship," he said. "This team will be really close knit. We want to be a family."

Christie left the Grizzlies to be an assistant coach with the AHL's Chicago Wolves.