May 16, 2024

1.pngBy Andrew Mossbrooks | @Mossbrooks48


Seth Appert has left the building.


1,364 days after being named head coach of the Rochester Americans, the Cottage Grove, Minnesota, native got the message that he delivered so many times to countless players over his four-year tenure with Rochester. Appert, like JJ Peterka, Jack Quinn, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Brett Murray, Jiri Kulich, Lawrence Pilut, Mattias Samuelsson, Michael Houser, Lukas Rousek, and several others, has been called up to the Buffalo Sabres.


Ahead of his 50th birthday later this August, Appert ventures up to the National Hockey League as an assistant coach with the Sabres, joining a staff headed by beloved Sabre and former Amerk Lindy Ruff, as the organization looks to continue its quest of returning to playoff hockey, and eventually, winning its first Stanley Cup.


Getting to the NHL is an ultimate achievement in and of itself, but for Appert, it’s being in Buffalo that makes it all the more exciting.


“For me, it makes it more special because I get to stay within the organization,” said Appert. “When Kevyn (Adams) hired me four years ago, organizationally, we weren’t in a great spot. I’m proud of what we’ve done. We’ve done some great things in Rochester. We’ve developed a lot of players and Buffalo’s a lot closer to being a winning team and a contending team then they were four years ago. For me, this is an opportunity to try and see it through. That excites me because I’ve invested a lot in this organization, and I know the men inside that locker room up there. I’ve coached a lot of them, so I’m excited to get to go up there and have that opportunity with them.”



“He’s had such a tremendous run,” said Amerks general manager Jason Karmanos. “The bond that Seth made with players and staff members over time was truly great to see. He had a profound impact over many, many people over this span of time. It’s an incredibly well-deserved promotion to the Sabres.”


Appert’s legacy places him in high honors when looking through the annals of Amerks history.


For the first time in a decade, the Amerks have qualified for the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.


For the first time in 20 years, the team reached the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago.



Appert won over 100 regular season games behind the Amerks bench and would go on to win 15 more in the playoffs. His final win may be his most memorable: in a Game 4 do-or-die scenario, Appert called his shot, telling his players they would win against Syracuse when trailing 3-0 heading into the third period. He scripted the future and his players executed the outcome. No team in the 68-year history of the franchise has overcome a 3-0 deficit in an elimination game.


“Never a doubt,” he said following that game. Those three words would serve as a signature line of Appert’s in times where the impossible became possible.


Some of the biggest games during the Appert era quickly flood into the memory bank. The pair of Game 5 wins over Syracuse (2023) and Utica (2022), sweeping Toronto at home by winning Game 3 to win the North Division a season ago. These are great wins celebrated by one of the most iconic AHL teams, but it wouldn’t be minor league hockey without a crazy story.


“There’s this game at home against Providence my second year where our lineup was completely decimated,” Appert said with a smile on his face. “Guys were driving in from all parts of the country from the ECHL to get here. They were introducing themselves on their way into the locker room. We had a guy warming up in the parking lot waiting for his COVID test to come in. We had a bartender as a backup goalie. We made the playoffs by one point that year, and we won the game that night.”



The on-ice accolades are there to view, but being an Amerk meant far more than that to the man more simply referred to as Apps.


“It’s been a privilege to be head coach of the Rochester Americans over the past four seasons. I love this organization. What I wanted to create was a culture that was family oriented. I wanted this to be a place where players, staff, and support staff members could walk in the door and be embraced for who they were, not for who they weren’t. We wanted an environment that was competitive as heck, but one that was fun and filled with joy and passion. I was embraced by our support staff, our front office, our city, and our players. It makes you feel at home and that this is a home for you. This is an incredibly special place.”


And with that, the story of Seth Appert and the Rochester Americans comes to a close. This story is bittersweet. It’s sad because both sides will miss one another, but it’s happy because of what’s to come for both.


For Appert, the former Ferris State goaltender becomes the latest Amerk to find his way to the NHL. For Rochester, the team has an identity and culture instilled over the past four seasons that have brought this organization back to prominence. Appert left the Amerks in a good place for his successor, whoever that may be, to inherit a team capable of greatness.



Seth Appert is the living embodiment of his own words. The ‘practice what you preach’ adage is carried out by the man who ran the red, white, and blue in the Flower City since August 18, 2020.


Appert’s teams pulled the crowd into the fight with them. They owned their development. They invested in their daily habits. They were pesky like his bourbon. Appert used adversity and failure to reach the growth and success he’s achieved today and there was never a doubt from the ones surrounding him in Rochester that Apps would one day be going to the National.


Buffalo bound, but made in Rochester. This is Seth Appert’s story.


“I’ll be an Amerk for life.”

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