The New Jersey Devils announced today they have hired Peter DeBoer to be their next head coach. DeBoer is the teams ninth different head coach since the 2000-2001 season. The announcement comes as a shock after weeks of speculation and rumors. Some of them out of this world and some a bit more terrestrial but when all was said and done the Devils finally got their man.
General Manager Lou Lamoriello took his time making this decision but is was for a good reason. A reason only Lou himself really knows, but it’s obvious New Jersey is moving in a different direction. Many of the past decades coaches were either retreads or promotions from other jobs within the organization. If the Devils were going to complete the image make-over they’ve experienced over the last couple of seasons it was imperative they brought someone in from the outside. This organization needed a fresh face to implement a new system and pump some fresh blood into the players and fans, Pete DeBoer is that man.
DeBoer was relieved of his duties from the Florida Panthers back in April and until now had been considered a dark horse for the Devils vacant bench. His name had been floated around as a possible candidate for other openings throughout the league, including Detroit and Calgary.
The hiring came as a bit of a surprise to me. I was convinced Lou was going a different direction, but I have to admit I really like what Deboer will bring to New Jersey. During his three years with the Panthers he compiled a record of 103-107-36. Florida always seemed to be on the cusp of breaking out but didn’t have the personnel to make it happen. It will not be the same situation with the Devils. DeBoer will have the pieces necessary to be successful.
Surprisingly, DeBoer has no connections to the Montreal Canadiens as Lamoriello tends to gravitate towards ex-Habs. Its nice to see Lou deviate from his usual “status quo” method of operation.
The 43 year old Ontario native is the current part-owner of the Oshawa Generals of the OHL. Prior to taking over in Florida he was head coach of the Detroit Whalers, Plymouth Whalers, and Kitchener Rangers in the OHL. He is a two-time winner (1999 & 2000) of the OHL Coach of the Year award and led the Rangers to a Memorial Cup victory in 2003.
July 19 is the latest the Devils have ever waited to name a coach. Let’s hope DeBoer is finally worth the wait.
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Devils Hand Coaching Reins to Pete DeBoer
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