Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin announced today that the club has made multiple changes to its coaching staff (press release).
Head Coach Bruce Boudreau and Assistant Coach Trent Cull have been relieved of their duties.
Rick Tocchet has been hired as the 21st Head Coach in franchise history. Adam Foote has been named Assistant Coach and Sergei Gonchar has been hired as a Defensive Development Coach.
“We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Bruce and Trent for their contributions to this organization,” said Allvin. “We appreciate their dedication and wish them nothing but the best moving forward. This was not an easy decision to make, but one that we felt was necessary for this franchise.
“Rick Tocchet brings a wealth of knowledge to this team from both a coach and player perspective. He has had more than two decades of coaching experience, guiding teams of various styles. As a player, he displayed a high level of character, grit and intensity, while recording impressive offensive numbers.
“We are also excited about the additions of Adam Foote and Sergei Gonchar to our coaching staff. Both individuals enjoyed long, successful playing careers as NHL defencemen and together provide a wide range of expertise on both sides of the puck. Tocchet, Foote, and Gonchar all bring a championship pedigree to the organization and we look forward to welcoming them to Vancouver.”
Tocchet, 58, joins the Canucks having most recently served four seasons as head coach of the Arizona Coyotes from 2017.18 to 2020.21. During his tenure in Arizona, Tocchet led the Coyotes to their first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs (2020) in eight years, when the team defeated the Nashville Predators in four games to advance from the Qualifying Round. That same season, he was selected to coach the Pacific Division at the NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis. Prior to his appointment in Arizona, Tocchet spent three seasons (2014.15 to 2016.17) as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2016 and 2017.
Tocchet began his coaching career in 2002 when he was hired as an assistant coach by the Colorado Avalanche, a position he held for two seasons. During that time, the Avalanche won consecutive Northwest Division championships and appeared in four straight seven-game playoff series. He then spent the 2005.06 season as an assistant coach with the Coyotes, before moving on to the Tampa Bay Lightning as both an assistant and head coach for two seasons.
The Scarborough, Ontario native also played 18 seasons in the NHL, splitting time between the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, and Phoenix Coyotes. Tocchet appeared in 1,144 regular season games during his playing career, accumulating 952 points (440-512-952) and 2,972 penalty minutes. The five-time 30-goal scorer also appeared in 145 career playoff games, collecting 112 points (52-60-112) and 471 penalty minutes (fourth-most in NHL playoff history), winning the Stanley Cup in 1992 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Foote, 51, most recently served as head coach of the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League over parts of two seasons (2018.19 to 2019.20). Prior to that position, he spent four seasons as a development consultant with the Colorado Avalanche and earned a gold medal with Canada at the 2018 Spengler Cup as a development consultant.
The native of Toronto, Ontario appeared in 1,151 regular season games during his 19-year playing career with the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, and Columbus Blue Jackets. Known for his physical play as a shutdown defencemen, the former Avalanche and Blue Jackets captain accumulated 308 points (66-242-308), 1,534 penalty minutes, and a +99 plus-minus rating in his career. He also won two Stanley Cups (1996, 2001) with the Avalanche and played in 170 career playoff games (7-35-42).
Gonchar, 48, has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for Russia’s national team, including at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Previously he was an assistant coach (2017.18 to 2019.20) and defenceman development coach (2015.16 to 2016.17) for the Pittsburgh Penguins following his retirement from the NHL.
Hailing from Chelyabinsk, Russia, Gonchar played 20 seasons in the NHL, splitting 1,301 games between the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars, and Montreal Canadiens. Touted as an offensive defenceman, he registered 811 points (220-591-811) throughout his career (17th all-time among defencemen), alongside 981 penalty minutes and a +33 plus-minus rating. Appearing in an additional 141 playoff games (22-68-90), he also won the 2009 Stanley Cup as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After getting hired on December 4, 2021 and leading Vancouver to a 32-15-10 for the rest of the season, Boudreau was extended for two seasons last May.
However, Vancouver started the season 0-5-2 and blew leads in each of their first five games (three of which by multiple goals). The team is currently 18-25-3 (.433 points percentage) and 14 points behind Colorado, who has a game in hand, for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Boudreau was appointed for the position by Vancouver’s ownership and not GM Patrik Allvin, who was the assistant GM under current Vancouver President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Boudreau was hired a quarter of the way through the 2007-08 season by Washington and led them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era with 11 wins in the final 12 games of the season. He won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year that season. In five seasons with Washington Boudreau went 201-88-40. He guided them to their first Presidents’ Trophy in 2009-10 and to the top of the Eastern Conference again the next season but was never able to get them past the second round.
Boudreau worked as a studio analyst for NHL Network between his jobs with the Vancouver and Minnesota and had a conversation with Washington about returning in the same role after they fired head coach Todd Reirden in August 2020 but it did not go far. The team ultimately decided to hire Peter Laviolette instead.
He has a career coaching record of 617-332-128 in 1,069 regular season games with Vancouver (2021.22 to 2022.23), Minnesota (2016.17 to 2019.20), the Anaheim Ducks (2011.12 to 2015.16), and Washington (2007.08 to 2011.12).
By Harrison Brown