Willie Desjardins Named Head Coach of the Vancouver Canucks
The Texas Stars head coach is headed to Vancouver to fill the job left open by the firing of John Tortorella.
In a move that is shocking to absolutely no one who follows the Dallas Stars, Texas Stars or even the NHL in general, Willie Desjardins has been named the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.
Desjardins, who has been with the Dallas organization since 2010, spent the last two seasons as the coach of the Texas Stars, winning the AHL coach of the year title in 2013 and leading the team to the Calder Cup championship this year. Prior to that, he spent two years as an associate coach with the NHL club.
Before coming to Dallas, he had a long stint working in major junior. He coached the Medicine Hat Tigers in the WHL for eight seasons with two WHL championships, also serving as general manager during part of that time, and was the head coach for the Canadian WJC team in 2010. At age 57, he's worked his way methodically up the coaching ranks and will be a marked difference from previous Canucks head coach John Tortorella.
It was pretty clear Desjardins was a hot commodity on the coaching market this offseason, reportedly being one of the favorites for the Pittsburgh Penguins job before landing with the Canucks. Recent reports indicate that he will also take Texas Stars assistant coach and member of the 1999 Stanley Cup team Doug Lidster with him to Vancouver.
In a bit of an amusing twist, it appears for the moment that Desjardins will be the boss of Glen Gulutzan, now an assistant coach with the Canucks that the team held on to despite firing Tortorella. Gulutzan leapfrogged Desjardins for the Dallas coaching job back in 2011.
From a Stars fan perspective, this is definitely easier to swallow given how well Lindy Ruff did last year - if the Stars had faltered again down the stretch and missed the playoffs, it would have definitely stung to lose a guy who is so obviously in demand.
But as it stands, it appears Ruff and general manager Jim Nill have an extremely solid working relationship, which means Desjardins has to leave the nest to get the opportunity he's earned.
Congrats to Whiteboard Willie. Wish him the best! RT @VanCanucks: Willie Desjardins has been named new #Canucks coach.pic.twitter.com/gsQ9qHYjCo— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) June 23, 2014