The Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday promoted Travis Green, naming him the 19th head coach in franchise history after he spent the past four seasons guiding their American Hockey League team in Utica, N.Y.
The Comets narrowly missed the playoffs this season after losing in the AHL semifinals a year ago and in the Calder Cup Finals in 2015.
The Canucks will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. ET to make Green’s appointment official. Vancouver’s fourth head coach since May 2013 replaces Willie Desjardins, 60, who was fired on April 10.
“Travis has played a key role in the development of our young players through four seasons with the Comets,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement released by the NHL team. “He has an intense desire to win and build a team identity that is hard working, responsible at both ends of the ice and competitive.
“He has an excellent understanding of where we are as an organization and we’re confident in his ability to help build our team and develop a winning culture.”
Green, 46, leaves Utica with a record of 155-110-39, including a 35-32-9 mark this season.
His hiring is said to be of no surprise, given the Castlegar, B.C., native’s ability to work with NHL prospects and reach them on another level, including forwards Jake Virtanen, Hunter Shinkaruk and Nicklas Jensen.
Two seasons ago, the Canucks were riddled with injury, forcing Green to regularly juggle his lineup. He used 49 players in leading Utica back to the post-season after missing the playoffs in his rookie season.
Expect ex-Canuck defenceman Nolan Baumgartner to be part of Travis Green’s coaching staff.
It’s believed Vancouver recently denied Florida permission to speak to Green about their coaching vacancy. Three years ago, he reportedly turned down an assistant coaching position with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and last summer was a finalist for the Ducks head-coaching job given to Randy Carlyle.
Similar to Desjardins in…