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Canucks name Desjardins head coach

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 23 2014 12:52:29 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 23 2014 01:37:33 PM CDT
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The Vancouver Canucks named Willie Desjardins as head coach on Monday.

Desjardins replaces John Tortorella, who was fired after the Canucks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Desjardins was an assistant with the Dallas Stars from 2010-12 and guided the AHL's Texas Stars to a Calder Cup title. This is his first NHL head coaching job.

"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," 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."

Tortorella lasted just one season in Vancouver. The team also fired president and general manager Mike Gillis after the season.

Desjardins, 57, spent the last two seasons in the AHL. He was named AHL coach of the year for the 2012-13 when Texas won its first South Division regular-season title.

Prior to joining Dallas, Desjardins was coach (2002-10) and general manager (2005-10) of the Western Hockey League's Medicine Hat Tigers. The team won two Memorial Cup tournaments, including the 2007 final. He was the league's coach of the year for the 2005-06 season and was honored as the top coach in the Canadian Hockey League in 2006.

Desjardins was part of Canada's coaching staff at two world junior tournaments and one world championship. He also coached the University of Calgary and in Japan.