The Vancouver Canucks have named Willie Desjardins the team’s new head coach.
“Did I think this day would come? You really don’t sometimes, but it’s great that it did," Desjardins stated in a news release today (June 23). "You always want to coach at the best level and the NHL is the best level, so you want to see where you’re at and what you can do. That being said, it’s a new chapter and a new challenge and you can say whatever you want, you can say all the things, but that doesn’t mean anything, it’s what you do.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.”
This is the first NHL head coaching job for the 57-year-old Saskatchewan native, who previously served as the assistant head coach for the Dallas Stars from 2010 to 2012. Desjardins started his hockey career playing for the Lethbridge Broncos and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
His coaching experience includes the University of Calgary Dinos, the Saskatoon Blades, and Medicine Hat Tigers. Desjardins led the Tigers to their fourth Western Hockey League championship during the 2002-2003 season.
After serving as the assistant head coach for the Dallas Stars in 2012, Desjardins was selected as the head coach of the Stars’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Texas Stars, until June 2014.
“He was a really impressive interview, we liked what we saw and things came together very quickly,” Linden stated. “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.”