Canucks Hire Willie Desjardins As Head Coach, Replacing John Tortarella

Willie DesjardinsVANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Vancouver Canucks have hired Willie Desjardins as their coach.

This is the first NHL head coaching job for Desjardins, who most recently led the AHL’s Texas Stars to a Calder Cup championship. He succeeds John Tortorella, who was fired after coaching the Canucks for one year.

“Willie Desjardins has won at every level and we believe he’ll be an excellent fit as we strive to return to the playoffs and build with youth for long-term success,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement Monday. “Willie is a great teacher, motivator and communicator; his teams have competed with a style of play we believe will help us compete in our division and in the playoffs.

With Willie’s leadership behind the bench we look forward to bringing back this team’s winning qualities and our fans’ passion and excitement for the Canucks.”

Tortorella and former Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis were casualties in a season in which the Canucks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Before joining Texas for the 2012-13 season, Desjardins coached the Medicine Hat Tigers for eight seasons, leading them to two Western Hockey League titles.

He was on Canada’s staff at two world junior tournaments and one world championship. He also coached the University of Calgary and in Japan.

Photo via USA Today Sports Images

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