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Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Stars coaching candidate: Willie Desjardins

By Mark Stepneski

The latest in a series on possible candidates for the head coaching job of the Dallas Stars looks at Willie Desjardins.

Currently

Associate coach of the Dallas Stars.

The résumé

*Hired as associate coach of the Dallas Stars in July 2010.

*Coached eight seasons (2003-2010) with the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Western Hockey League, compiling a 333-182-61 regular season record and 65-43 mark in the playoffs. Was also general manager  of Medicine Hat from 2005-10.

*Won WHL championship (2004, 2007).

*Was named Canadian Hockey League Coach of the Year in 2006.

*Was head coach for Team Canada at 2010 World Junior Championship, where his team took the silver medal.

*Won gold medal as an assistant coach for Team Canada at 2009 World Junior Championship.

*Assistant coach for Canada's National Men's Team in 1998-99.

*Played junior hockey with Moose Jaw (SJHL) and Lethbridge (WCHL).

Positives

Got high marks for his organization and attention to detail in first year as associate coach with the Dallas Stars. Was one of the top coaches in Canadian junior hockey, turning the Medicine Hat Tigers into one of the top teams in the Western Hockey League. Success in juniors shows he can make a connection with younger players.

Negatives

Limited experience at the professional level since he has just one year in the NHL under his belt.

Other suitors

He’s under contract with Dallas, so none.

Quotable

“Willie is a detail guy, Willie is a passionate guy and he is a hardworking guy who just loves hockey. I think in the beginning the players didn’t know much about him or know how to take him, but he has a real good rapport with the players. I think Willie is the type of hockey guy that comes in and makes people around him better and we’ve seen that here in Dallas.” – Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk on Desjardins’ performance as associate coach with Dallas (NHL Live, January 2011)