Willie Desjardins was hired Monday as the new coach of the Vancouver Canucks.
Desjardins, 57, had spent the previous two seasons as coach of the Texas Stars, the Dallas Stars’ American Hockey League affiliate. They won the Calder Cup this season, and Desjardins was named the AHL coach of the year in 2012-13, his first season.
In two AHL seasons he had a 91-40-21 record.
“It’s a big challenge and if I thought I had to do it by myself, it’d be overwhelming,” said Desjardins, the 18th coach in franchise history, who will meet the media during a press conference Monday at 3 p.m. “There’s lots of good people involved, we all have the same goal and when you know that, it’s not overwhelming, it’s exciting.”
Desjardins has experience in the NHL, spending the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons as an associate coach with Dallas.
Prior to moving to professional hockey Desjardins spent 10 seasons coaching in the Western Hockey League, the final nine with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He also coached Canada to a silver medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“He was a really impressive interview, we liked what we saw and things came together very quickly,” Canucks president Trevor Linden said. “Wherever Willie’s coached, he’s had tremendous buy-in from his players, whether it be in junior or at the American League level. Guys want to play for him and that’s one of those intangibles that it’s hard to measure on a whiteboard, it’s not about X’s and O’s, it’s about getting players to play hard.”
Desjardins replaces John Tortorella, who was fired May 1 after one season.
“I want us to play hard every night, I want us to play hard every shift,” Desjardins said. “Every time we play, we play to win; we go out, we’re looking for a way and maybe it has to be a little different every night, the opposition is different, but we’ll have an underlying theme that we’re here to play, we’re here to win and that’s how we’re going to approach every game.”
Source: NHL Media