Navigating the 32 NHL Coaches for the 2023-2024 Campaign

Hey there, hockey fans! With the 23-24 NHL season just around the corner, it’s time to get acquainted with the new faces behind your favorite teams’ benches. I’ve already covered the capacity of NHL arenas, so now let’s shine the spotlight on the coaches!

We’ve got 32 coaches from six countries across three unique divisions. Prepare for fresh + old legendary names and exciting strategies as we gear up for another year of pro ice hockey!

In this blog post, I’ve got you covered with a comprehensive guide to each of these exceptional leaders. I’ve got everything from their backgrounds and experience in the league to what they bring to their teams. So, are you ready?

1. Anaheim Ducks – Greg Cronin

Greg Cronin is widely recognized for his mental toughness and the success he aims for his team to achieve on the ice. Cronin started coaching way back in 1987, first as an assistant coach at Colby College and then as a graduate assistant at the University of Maine.

He’s had coaching stints with USA Hockey, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Colorado Eagles before landing his current gig as the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks in June 2023.

2. Arizona Coyotes – André Tourigny

André Tourigny is currently coaching the Arizona Coyotes, starting in 2021. He’s been in the coaching game since 2002, making some impressive contributions to hockey along the way.

One thing worth mentioning is Tourigny’s pivotal role with Canada’s junior ice hockey team, where he helped them clinch gold and silver medals at the IIHF World U20 Championship. In the NHL, he also worked as an assistant coach for the Colorado Avalanche in the past.

3. Boston Bruins – Jim Montgomery

Jim Montgomery, born on June 30, 1969, is a Canadian professional ice hockey coach and former player. He’s currently the head coach of the Boston Bruins in the NHL and previously coached the Dallas Stars.

Montgomery’s coaching style is all about balance and discipline. He’s got a knack for getting his team to play a structured game. During his playing career as a centre, he played for the St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, and Dallas Stars.

4. Buffalo Sabres  – Don Granato

Don Granato took over mid-season and injected some energy into the Sabres. Granato was brought on board as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres back in 2019. But guess what? He later stepped up as the interim head coach on March 17, 2021, taking over from Ralph Krueger.

And you know what’s even better? The interim tag was removed on June 29, 2021, officially making him the head coach for the 2021-22 season. He’s a motivator working on improving the team’s offensive game.

5. Calgary Flames – Ryan Huska

Ryan Huska is a new face behind the bench in Calgary. On June 23, 2014, a new chapter began for Huska as he assumed the head coach role for the Adirondack Flames, the AHL’s esteemed affiliate of the Calgary Flames.

His unwavering dedication caught the attention of the Calgary Flames, who welcomed him as an assistant coach in 2018. Fast forward to June 12, 2023, and the Flames proudly announced Huska as the head coach, succeeding the legendary Darryl Sutter.

6. Carolina Hurricanes – Rod Brind’Amour

Roderic Jean Brind’Amour, born August 9, 1970, is a Canadian legend. As a coach, he knows his stuff and brings the best out of players. Also known for his strong work ethic, he brings that drive to the coaching role.

He played in the NHL for 20 seasons, representing the St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers, and Carolina Hurricanes. And get this: he led the Hurricanes to their first-ever Stanley Cup championship in 2006 as team captain.

7. Chicago Blackhawks – Luke Richardson

In an exciting move, Scotty Bowman joined the Chicago Blackhawks as their 40th head coach in franchise history on June 27, 2022. He had previously served as an assistant coach for Canada at the Deutschland Cup on October 7, 2016.

Later that year, Richardson took charge as the head coach of Team Canada at the prestigious Spengler Cup in Switzerland. He led the team to its 14th title at the event in December. Richardson’s coaching style is all about his extensive playing experience, and he emphasizes team chemistry and effective communication.

8. Colorado Avalanche – Jared Bednar

Jared Bednar, born on February 28, 1972, is the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL. Before that, Bednar coached the Lake Erie Monsters in the American Hockey League (AHL), leading them to a Calder Cup championship in the 2015-16 season.

Notably, Bednar made history by winning the Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2022, making him the first coach to win the current ECHL, AHL, and NHL trophies (Kelly, Calder, and Stanley Cup, respectively).

9. Columbus Blue Jackets – Pascal Vincent

Vincent is a fresh face in Columbus, and he’s all about building a winning culture and a strong work ethic within the team. On July 22, 2011, Vincent became an assistant coach for the Winnipeg Jets. Recently, Vincent joined the coaching staff of the Columbus Blue Jackets on June 24, 2021.

Exciting news came on September 17, 2023, when Vincent was named head coach of the Blue Jackets following the pre-season resignation of Mike Babcock.

10. Dallas Stars – Peter DeBoer

George Peter DeBoer is currently the head coach for the Dallas Stars. DeBoer has had an impressive coaching career, winning the OHL Coach of the Year award twice during his 13-season tenure as head coach for teams like the Detroit Whalers, Plymouth Whalers, and Kitchener Rangers.

He’s also been the head coach for the Florida Panthers (2008-2011), New Jersey Devils (2011-2014), San Jose Sharks (2015-2019), and most recently, the Vegas Golden Knights (2020-2022). Quite the journey!

11. Detroit Red Wings – Derek Lalonde

Derek Lalonde’s coaching journey started in 1995 as a graduate assistant at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Then, from 2011 to 2014, he took on the head coach role for the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL.

Fast-forward to the recent events, Lalonde was appointed head coach of the Detroit Red Wings. Oh, and here’s a fun fact: On March 28, 2023, he got ejected from a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, marking his first-ever ejection in his NHL career. Now, that’s a rare event in the league!

12. Edmonton Oilers – Jay Woodcroft

Woodcroft has been working closely with some of the best players in the game, helping them fine-tune their skills and make the Oilers a formidable team. On February 10, 2022, the Oilers announced they fired Dave Tippett from the team and named Woodcroft its new interim head coach.

After a successful run to the Western Conference Finals, on June 21, 2022, Edmonton signed Woodcroft to a three-year deal to remain as the team’s head coach. Exciting stuff, right?

13. Florida Panthers – Paul Maurice

Maurice actually served as an assistant coach under head coach Ralph Krueger for Team Europe in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. He’s a veteran coach known for his calm demeanor and ability to guide his team through tough times.

On June 22, 2022, Maurice was named head coach of the Florida Panthers, taking over from interim head coach Andrew Brunette. And guess what? On May 24, 2023, Maurice and the Panthers made it to the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals after sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes in four games in the Conference Finals.

14. Los Angeles Kings – Todd McLellan

Todd McLellan has a ton of coaching experience, and he’s been working hard on developing a new generation of talent in LA. Right now, he’s the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL.

Before that, McLellan coached the San Jose Sharks (2008–2015) and the Edmonton Oilers (2015–2018). He also served as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings (2005–2008), and together they won the Stanley Cup in 2008.

15. Minnesota Wild – Dean Evason

As a player, Evason had stints in Switzerland, playing for the Canadian National Team and even in the German Hockey League before hanging up his skates. He showcased his skills in 803 NHL games, primarily as a defensive-minded forward, racking up an impressive 139 goals and 233 assists.

On February 14, 2020, Evason was named interim head coach of the Wild. Later, after four months, the Wild dropped the “interim” tag from Evason’s title and named him the sixth full-time head coach in franchise history.

16 Montreal Canadiens – Martin St. Louis

Martin St. Louis is currently leading the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL. Fun fact: he wasn’t even picked in the draft, but he still had an incredible NHL career! He played 1,134 games, scored 391 goals, and earned 1,033 points.

As a player, Martin started with the Calgary Flames in 1998 and finished with the New York Rangers in 2015. He won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004! No wonder he made it into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018 and was among the first players inducted into the Tampa Bay Lightning Hall of Fame in 2023.

17. Nashville Predators – Andrew Brunette

Andrew D. Brunette is currently the head coach for the Nashville Predators. During his playing career from 1996 to 2012, Brunette played in over 1,100 NHL games with different teams like the Washington Capitals, Nashville Predators, Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, and Chicago Blackhawks.

He has also taken on coaching roles, serving as the interim head coach for the Florida Panthers and as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils.

18 .New Jersey Devils – Lindy Ruff

On July 9, 2020, Ruff became the head coach of the New Jersey Devils. On January 28, 2021, he reached a significant milestone by coaching his 1,500th NHL game! Unfortunately, it ended in a 3–1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

When Ruff took over, the Devils were rebuilding, aiming to get back into playoff contention. But man, they faced some serious challenges in his first two seasons. They were consistently near the bottom of the standings. However, the 2021–22 season brought some much-needed optimism. They made some excellent offseason signings, and their young star players were stepping up their game.

19. New York Islanders – Lane Lambert

Lambert was hired as the head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League in July 2007. He held that position until he was promoted to assistant coach for the Nashville Predators on June 9, 2011.

However, he signed with the New York Islanders after head coach Barry Trotz joined the team in 2018. And guess what? After Trotz got fired following the 2021-22 season, on May 16, 2022, Lambert got promoted to head coach of the Islanders.

20. New York Rangers – Peter Laviolette

Peter Laviolette is a pretty seasoned NHL coach! On June 13, 2023, the New York Rangers hired Laviolette as head coach, replacing Gerard Gallant. Laviolette was also the New York Islanders’ head coach, twice leading them to the playoffs. But wait, there’s more!

He went on to coach the Carolina Hurricanes, and guess what? They won the Stanley Cup in 2006! Remember that incredible comeback by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010? Yeah, Laviolette was their coach.

21. Ottawa Senators – D. J. Smith

D. J. Smith was born on May 13, 1977. He’s a former pro ice hockey player from Canada. He’s the head coach for the Ottawa Senators in the NHL right now. During his playing days, Smith was a defenseman in 45 NHL games for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche.

As a coach, Smith had a big win with the Memorial Cup in 2015. Before joining the Ottawa Senators, he spent four years as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

22. Philadelphia Flyers – John Tortorella

John Tortorella, born on June 24, 1958, is the head coach for the Philadelphia Flyers. He’s coached for many NHL teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Vancouver Canucks. Tortorella even led the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup in 2004.

He’s the first American-born NHL coach to hit 500 wins!  And to top it all off, he’s been honored with the Jack Adams Award twice.

23. Pittsburgh Penguins – Mike Sullivan

Born on February 27, 1968, Michael Barry Sullivan currently serves as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL. Sullivan’s hockey journey began in 1987 when the New York Rangers drafted him. Over 11 NHL seasons, he played for teams like the San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins, and Phoenix Coyotes.

Sullivan also represented the United States twice, including the 1997 World Championship. Now, as the head coach of the Penguins, he brings his experience and love for the sport to guide his team to new heights in the competitive world of NHL hockey.

24. San Jose Sharks – David Quinn

Quinn is known for his strong communication skills and ability to relate to his players. David Quinn, born on July 30, 1966, is the head coach of the San Jose Sharks in the NHL. Before that, he coached the New York Rangers for three seasons, the Lake Erie Monsters in the AHL, and was an assistant coach for the Colorado Avalanche.

He also served as the head coach at Boston University. By the way, he was inducted into the Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame in 2021.

25. Seattle Kraken – Dave Hakstol

David Hakstol, born on July 30, 1968, is the head coach for the Seattle Kraken in the NHL. Before that, Hakstol coached the Sioux City Musketeers for four seasons, followed by four years as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of North Dakota. 2004, he was promoted to head coach and led the program for eleven seasons.

From May 2015 to December 2018, Hakstol served as the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. He also worked as an assistant coach for Canada’s national men’s team in 2017 and 2019.

26. St. Louis Blues – Craig Berube

Craig Berube, born on December 17, 1965, is a Canadian ice hockey coach and former player. He’s the head coach for the St. Louis Blues in the NHL. They call him “Chief”. Berube played 17 seasons in the NHL for the Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals, and New York Islanders.

Fun fact: he was also a scout for Team Canada’s 2016 World Cup Hockey team. In 2019, as an interim coach, Berube led the Blues to win the Stanley Cup.

27. Tampa Bay Lightning – Jon Cooper

Jonathan D. Cooper, born on August 23, 1967, is a Canadian-American pro ice hockey coach. He’s the head coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL. Cooper won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2020 and 2021 as the Lightning head coach.

Cooper’s led the Lightning to championships and is known for his strategic coaching style. Fun fact: He’s the longest-tenured head coach in the NHL, as he joined as a coach of Tampa Bay in 2013.

28. Toronto Maple Leafs – Sheldon Keefe

Sheldon Keefe (born September 17, 1980) is a Canadian hockey pro, both a coach and a former player. He’s currently the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL. His younger brother, Adam Keefe, coaches the Belfast Giants, the champions of the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL).

Keefe’s all about playing a fast, offensive game, and he’s been working hard to help the Maple Leafs reach their full potential.

29. Vancouver Canucks – Rick Tocchet

Richard Tocchet is the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL. As a right winger, he played for various teams, including the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, and Phoenix Coyotes.

He also served as the head coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes. You might remember him as an analyst on Flyers Postgame Live during the 2010 playoffs. Exciting news – he’s now a studio analyst for the NHL on TNT!

30. Vegas Golden Knights – Bruce Cassidy

Bruce James Cassidy, also known as “Butch” or “Butchy,” is a Canadian hockey coach and former professional ice hockey player. He’s currently the head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Before that, he coached the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins. As a defenseman, he played for the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL. Oh, and by the way, Cassidy won the Stanley Cup with the Golden Knights in 2023!

31. Washington Capitals – Spencer Carbery

In August 2010, Spencer Carbery retired from professional hockey and joined the Stingrays as an assistant coach. He later took on the role of head coach and director of hockey operations. After a stint with the Saginaw Spirit, he joined the Providence Bruins.

In 2021, he was back in the NHL as an assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs. But the story doesn’t end there! On May 30, 2023, Carbery was named the head coach of the Washington Capitals.

32. Winnipeg Jets – Rick Bowness

Richard Gary Bowness, a Canadian ice hockey veteran, is the head coach for the Winnipeg Jets in the NHL. He’s had an impressive playing career as a right-winger for various teams and leagues.

Bowness has led multiple NHL teams in coaching, including the original Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, and Dallas Stars. He’s also been an associate coach with the Vancouver Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning.

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