Who should be the next Head Coach of the Calgary Flames? I want to use this blog to get your ideas on who you think would be a good choice for the job, using comments to have a discussion.
Our Program Director Kelly Kirch, Boomer, and I have come up with a composite list of coaches that we think could be possible candidates for the job. They are listed below and I’d love to get you thoughts on them or if you have any other candidates, please add them to the discussion.
A former assistant with Chicago, Haviland spent the last four seasons in the Blackhawks organization. He has four years of AHL experience as a head coach and three in the ECHL before that; in 2006/2007 he won the AHL’s Coach of the Year award leading Norfolk to 50 wins.
His NHL resume kind of speaks for itself, especially his work with Colorado starting in the late 90′s. After winning the Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears in 1997, he took over behind the Avalanche bench to start the 1998/1999 season. Hartley lead the Avs to a 52 win season during the 2000/2001 season culminating with a Stanley Cup win in seven games over New Jersey. Hartley coached the Atlanta Thrashers from 2002 through 2008, taking them to the playoffs during the 2006/2007 season. His most recent work has been with ZSC Lions in the Swiss League; he lead them to the league title this past season.
Ward’s stock has risen a ton since taking over behind the Abbotsford Heat bench this season, taking over for Jim Playfair. He lead the Heat to a 42-26-3 record, a first round playoff sweep over Milwaukee, and a five game playoff series against eventual winner Toronto. Ward has been an NHL assistant before, behind the Penguins bench from 1997 through 2000.
Currently in the Eastern Conference Final with the New York Rangers, Sullivan has been a part of John Tortorella’s staff the last three seasons. Prior to that, he spent two years as Head Coach of the Bruins. His coaching career followed an 11 year NHL career, with four of those seasons spent with the Flames.
Two consecutive trips to the WHL final will boost your profile, and Johnston’s time with the Portland Winterhawks has done just that. A former NHL assistant with both Vancouver and LA, Johnston has done wonders with the Winterhawks, developing future NHL talent like Ryan Johansen, Nino Niedereitter, and of course Calgary’s Sven Baetschi.
A 12 year NHL playing career saw him play his final game in the show with the Calgary Flames, and after a journeyman career playing it has been the complete opposite behind the bench. Eakins has spent his entire coaching career with the Maple Leafs organization, spending a year as an assistant with the Marlies before a two year stint as an assistant with the big club. The past three years, he’s been the Head Coach of the AHL’s Marlies and has them in the Western Conference Final right now.
The current Head Coach of the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals, Cooper is about to start the Eastern Conference Final after leading his team to a banner 55 win season. Cooper has been a fast riser through the ranks, spending a year as bench boss in the NAHL before two as Head Coach of the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL; he’s been leading the Admirals the past two campaigns.
Eager for another shot behind an NHL bench, is there a chance Playfair could be Head Coach of the Flames a second time? His one year in that position saw the Flames go 43-29-13, finishing with a first round exit at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings. He’s been an AHL Head Coach with the Abbotsford Heat (two seasons) and the Saint John Flames (three seasons), and is currently an associate on Dave Tippet’s staff in Phoenix.
After finishing his first year as Associate Coach with the Flames, Hartsburg finds himself in an odd spot. The team is going to retain him if a new head coach wants him, but he’s also a potential candidate for the job. He’s had three prior stops as an NHL bench boss, leading the Blackhawks from 1995 through 1998, the Ducks from 1998 through 2001 and a short stint with the Senators during the 2008/2009 season.
I know many will cringe at the last name, but Duane has a decent coaching background to go along with his long playing career. Sutter was Head Coach of the Indianapolis Ice of the defunct IHL from 1992 through 1995 and Head Coach of the Florida Panthers from 2000 through 2002. He’s been in player personnel positions the last number of years.
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