Phil Axtell assumed the role of Mallards head coach on Jan. 20, 2017 after spending two and a half seasons as a Mallards assistant coach. The New Windsor, Maryland native led the Mallards to a 21-12-2 record in 35 regular season games and a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Under Axtell’s direction, the Mallards reached 40 victories for the first time since 2005-06 and totaled more points (84) than they have since 2006-07. Axtell piloted the Mallards to an eight-game winning streak between January 28 and February 15, the team’s longest such streak since 2004. The Mallards scored an average of 3.5 goals per game under Axtell’s direction, up from an average of 2.9 per contest prior to his elevation.
Axtell coached in junior hockey before joining the Mallards’ staff. He served as associate head coach and assistant general manager of the Wisconsin Whalers in 2013-14. Axtell broke into coaching as an assistant with the Quad City Jr. Flames in 2012-13.
Axtell played for the Mallards during the 2010-11 season. Before arriving in the Quad Cities, Axtell skated collegiately for Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan. His on-ice achievements also include helping the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders to the 2005 United States Hockey League title and playing in the 2006 USHL All-Star Game during his two-year stint in the junior ranks. Axtell graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 2015.