© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks' head coach Willie Desjardins stands for television interviews after he was hired by the NHL hockey team in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday June 23, 2014. Desjardins replaces John Tortorella who was fired at the end of last season.
VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks have hired Willie Desjardins as their new head coach.
It's the first NHL head coaching job for the native of Climax, Sask., who most recently led the AHL's Texas Stars to a Calder Cup championship.
He spent two years with Texas, winning the AHL's coach of the year award in 2012-13 when he led the Stars to their first ever South Division regular season title and the number one seed in the Western Conference for the 2013 playoffs.
Prior to his tenure in the AHL, Desjardins spent two seasons as an associate coach with the Dallas Stars from 2010 to 2012.
He also served as head coach (2002-2010) and general manager (2005-2010) of the Western Hockey League's Medicine Hat Tigers, where he led the team to two Memorial Cup tournaments, including the 2007 final.
Desjardins was named WHL coach of the year for the 2005-06 season, and was also the recipient of the Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award as the top coach in the Canadian Hockey League in 2006.
Desjardins' resume also includes stints on Canada's staff at two world junior tournaments and one world championship, as well as time coaching with the University of Calgary and in Japan.
"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. "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.''
The 57-year-old Desjardins becomes the 18th head coach in club history and succeeds John Tortorella, who was fired after just one year behind the Canucks bench.
Tortorella and former Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis were casualties of Vancouver's disappointing season that saw the Canucks miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008.