Ryan Walter returns to Canucks as assistant coach
It’s a natural hat-trick of sorts. Ryan Walter, who played for the Vancouver Canucks and was later an analyst on the team’s television broadcasts, has rejoined the hockey club, this time as an assistant coach.
The 50-year-old New Westminster native was hired by general manager Mike Gillis on Tuesday and will fill one of two openings on Alain Vigneault’s staff. Walter, one of the good guys in hockey, spent 15 years in the NHL including three with the Canucks (1991-1993). He won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986.
What makes this hiring interesting is what Walter has been up to lately. Since leaving the game as a player, he’s immersed himself in studying all aspects of leadership. He returned to school to complete a Masters degree in business leadership and has applied his knowledge in various ways. He’s been an author, a motivational speaker, and has worked with athletes to help them maximize their performance. There were many nights last season—particularly late on—when the Canucks needed motivating, as well as there being room for improvement in their performance.
A father of five, Walter returns to the National Hockey League and at some point this season may get the chance to coach against his son. Ben Walter plays for the New York Islanders and last season scored his first NHL goal.
Interestingly, two members of the Canucks brass have sons playing for the Islanders: Ryan Walter’s son Ben and also Steve Tambellini's son Jeff.