After associate coach Peter Horachek was fired yesterday by the Nashville Predators, it didn’t take long for the team to find a replacement behind the bench. Phil Housley, a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, was hired by the Predators on the same day they confirmed Horachek’s firing.
Housley was the head coach of the United States’ 2013 World Junior Championships gold-medal winning team, and had an illustrious career as a defenseman. Not only did he amass 1,232 points (fourth-most all-time among defensemen) over a 21-year career, but he also was a seven-time member of the U.S. national team and made seven NHL All-Star Game appearances.
Housley will become just the fifth assistant coach to serve under head coach Barry Trotz. Paul Gardner, Horachek and Brent Peterson were all previous members of the coaching staff, while Lane Lambert has been behind the Predators’ bench since the start of 2011-12.
“A coach with history as a defenseman who was offensively gifted and excelled on the power play is something we have never had on our coaching staff,” Predators head coach Barry Trotz said in a statement. “His insight and viewpoint will bring a fresh perspective to our team.”
Housley, 49, has been involved as a coach in the USA Hockey program in recent years. In addition to being the head coach of the aforementioned 2013 World Juniors team, he was an assistant for them at the tournaments in 2007 and 2011. Housley was also an assistant coach at the recently-completed World Championships, where the U.S. claimed a bronze medal. Predators GM David Poile was an executive for Team USA at the World Championships.
Not only do Housley and Poile have that connection, but Housley played for the Washington Capitals in Poile’s final season as general manager for the Capitals.
Before being fired, Horachek primarily worked with the Predators’ defensemen. Housley will be the first Predators coach with NHL experience as a defenseman. His experience and expertise on the blueline should help the development of the Predators’ stable of young defensemen who are still trying to nail down a full-time NHL spot – Victor Bartley, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, etc.
“Phil brings a unique skill set to our coaching staff,” Poile said in a statement. “He was one of the most talented offensive defensemen to play in the NHL, and he has worked extensively with young players during his coaching career. He will continue to focus his efforts on our young defensemen and assisting on the power play.”
Housley will be officially introduced by the Predators on Wednesday afternoon.