Phil Housley knows the Hajt family well. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hire Chris Hajt as assistant coach

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ newest assistant coach has a familiar name. Chris Hajt has been named to coach Phil Housley’s staff, the team announced today.

The Buffalo-raised Hajt is the son of Sabres Hall of Famer Bill Hajt, one of greatest defensemen in franchise history.

The younger Hajt, 39, spent the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliates, the Ontario Reign and Manchester Monarchs, winning a Calder Cup in 2015 Hajt also coached five years as an assistant with the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm.

Hajt, the 32nd overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers in 1996, played 10 professional seasons as a defenseman, mostly in the AHL. He earned six NHL games, one with Edmonton and five with the Washington Capitals.

Hajt will likely be in charge of the Sabres’ defensemen.

Housley knows Bill Hajt well, having played five seasons with him in the 1980s. Housley was immediately paired with Hajt when he entered the NHL in 1982, and the two spent years as defense partners.

The Sabres also announced today assistant coach Tom Ward will return. Former coach Dan Bylsma hired Ward last year. Housley and Ward both coached high school hockey in Minnesota before moving up to the NHL.

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