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Whether a superstar or role player, many NHL players go on to pursue careers in coaching, oftentimes joining an NHL, minor league team, or even college teams. Add former Capitals defenseman John Erskine to the latter.
Per Queens University (a university in Kingston, Ontario) men’s hockey head coach Brett Gibson, Erskine has joined the team as an assistant coach after longtime assistant coach Tony Cimarello was hired by the Belleville Senators of the American Hockey League. Erskine released an official statement through the university’s official website regarding his hiring:
“I’m so excited to work with these young student-athletes and translate my many experiences on the ice to behind the bench,” said Erskine on the chance to join Queen’s. “It is a great opportunity to get back into the game at a very high level.”
Erskine spent 12 seasons in the NHL, nine of them with the Capitals. After sitting out of the 2014-15 season due to surgery, Erskine (a Kingston native) has returned to the game of hockey, albeit in a new capacity. Erskine played in 491 games in his NHL career after being drafted in the second-round (39th overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars. The Caps signed him in 2006 and he spent the remainder of his career in the District, establishing himself as a tough, no-nonsense defender who was not afraid to drop the gloves in defense of his teammates. His vast experience as an NHL player was not lost on Gibson, who alluded to that in an official statement:
“I was extremely pleased when John accepted the position as he was my only target when I knew Tony was leaving,” said Gibson on his newest assistant. “He is a guy I have played with and also a guy that played hockey with a great passion. He has been coached by some of the best this game has, and he will be a tremendous asset to our coaching staff. Our players, when informed, were very excited to get to work with John.”
NoVa Caps congratulates John on his hiring and wishes him and the Queens Gaels good luck this season!
By Michael Fleetwood