It seemed that working on the coaching staff of the Nashville Predators was the safest job in the NHL, but that may have changed Monday night. According to reports, Predators associate coach Peter Horachek became the first coaching staff firing since 2003 when Paul Gardner, an assistant from 1998-2003, was relieved of his duties.
Twitter was abuzz Monday night when broadcaster Darren Pang broke the news and tweeted that the Nashville Predators made the decision to part ways with Horachek, citing that the decision must have been a tough one for head coach Barry Trotz to make given their longtime relationship. The Tennessean further confirmed Pang’s report. The Predators have not confirmed the report as of late Monday.
Horachek was hired in June 2003, replacing Gardner behind the bench and remained an assistant coach with the Predators for nine seasons. The Ontario native was assistant coach from the 2003-04 season to 2010-11 and was promoted to associate coach prior to the the 2011-12 season. He mostly dealt with the Predators’ defensemen and penalty kill unit, while fellow assistant Lane Lambert has worked with the forwards and power play.
Before becoming a member of the Predators coaching staff, Horachek was the head coach of Nashville’s AHL farm team, the Milwaukee Admirals.
There is a history of Nashville staying within the organization in replacing coaches. Before arriving in Nashville as assistants, both Horachek and Lambert were previously the head coach in Milwaukee. Perhaps current Admirals head coach Dean Evason will be promoted to Nashville if this report is true, or maybe the Predators will think outside the box and try to entice another coach from around the NHL to join Trotz and Lambert behind the bench.
Coaching changes of any sort rarely happen in Nashville, but it appears one is about to be made.
UPDATE: (May 21st, 12:30 PM CT)
Predators confirm Peter Horachek’s firing.
— Jim Diamond (@diamondhockey) May 21, 2013
Here is a statement from GM David Poile:
Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile announced today that Peter Horachek has been relieved of his associate coaching duties with the club. The club also indicated an assistant coach will be added to the coaching staff in the near future.
“We thank Peter for his contributions to our organization during his time here. He has been a dedicated coach who brought passion to his role each and every day. We wish Peter the very best in his future endeavors and made this difficult decision at this time to allow him to pursue other opportunities.”
The club will have no further comment at this time.