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Monday, July 12, 2010
Stars close to hiring associate coach

By Mark Stepneski

The word out of Canadian junior hockey circles is that the Stars are close to hiring Willie Desjardins, head coach of the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers, as an associate coach.

The Stars have been looking to add another coach since the team and Andy Moog parted ways after the season, and Desjardins has been one of the people under consideration.

The Stars are not commenting on Desjardins right now, but the Medicine Hat Tigers have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday afternoon. That's added to the speculation that Desjardins could be stepping down to take a job at the professional level.

If hired, Desjardins would join head coach Marc Crawford, assistant coaches Charlie Huddy and Stu Barnes and goaltending coach Mike Valley.

Desjardins, 53, has been the head coach and general manager of the Medicine Hat since 2002-03. He's the led the Tigers to two Western Hockey League championships and eight straight playoff appearances.

Two Stars prospects at the recent development camp in Frisco – forward Tristan King and defenseman Jace Coyle – played for Desjardins at Medicine Hat.

Desjardins also was the head coach for Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championship, where the Canadians fell to Stars prospect Jack Campbell and Team USA in the gold medal game. Desjardins won a gold medal as an assistant coach at the 2009 World Junior championship. He's had other coaching duties with Canada's national teams and has coached in Japan as well.

He would not be the first successful junior to coach to make the jump to an NHL assistant role this offseason. Bob Boughner, who led the Windsor Spitfires to two straight Memorial Cups, joined the Columbus Blue Jackets as an assistant coach last week.