Wes Walz

Wesley Walz (born May 15, 1970) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey player and former assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League (NHL). Previously, he played centre for the Minnesota Wild of the NHL and served as team captain. Walz played in 607 NHL games in 11 seasons with Boston, Philadelphia, Calgary, Detroit, and Minnesota. He had 260 points (109 goals, 151 assists) and 343 penalty minutes and earned 40 career multi-point games.[citation needed]

Wes Walz
Born (1970-05-15) May 15, 1970 (age 50)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Right
Played for Boston Bruins
Philadelphia Flyers
Calgary Flames
Detroit Red Wings
Minnesota Wild
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 57th overall, 1989
Boston Bruins
Playing career 1991–2007

Playing careerEdit

Walz was drafted by the Boston Bruins 57th overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. At the time, he was playing for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League (WHL), a team for which he played two seasons, playing 119 games and scoring 83 goals and 161 assists for 244 points. For the next seven seasons, Walz was a fringe NHLer, playing a good chunk of his time in the American Hockey League (AHL). He averaged better than a point per game in the AHL, and was named MVP of the 1996 AHL All-Star Game, but it never got him a full-time NHL job. He did manage to score a career-high 38 points in 53 games for the Calgary Flames in 1993–94, but in 1996, he left North American hockey for the Swiss league.[citation needed]

After four seasons in Switzerland, Walz returned to North America by signing a contract with the expansion Minnesota Wild. During training camp for the Wild, Walz displayed an extremely high work ethic and seemingly unstoppable amount of energy on the ice. Due to his efforts, Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire almost immediately dubbed Walz as his designated checker, placing him primarily on the checking line. This was a turning point in Walz's career, as he became not only a full-time NHL player with Minnesota, but also one of the league's best defensive forwards and considered by many as one of the league's premier ironmen, comparable to players such as Rod Brind'Amour. In his first season back, Walz played all 82 regular season games, scoring 18 goals, 7 of which were shorthanded. When the Wild made the playoffs in 2003, Walz helped them make it all the way to the Western Conference Finals, scoring 7 goals and 6 assists in 18 games.[citation needed]

On November 1, 2007, Walz left the team due to personal reasons. On November 8, 2007, he was granted an indefinite leave of absence by the Wild.[1] On December 1, 2007, the Wild held a press conference during which Walz announced his retirement.[2] Walz retired as the franchise's leader in all-time games played, although he is now fourth behind Marián Gáborík, Nick Schultz and Mikko Koivu.

In June 2008, Walz signed a three-year contract to become an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning under head coach Barry Melrose.[3] Though Melrose was fired only 16 games into his tenure with the Lightning,[4] Walz was retained as a member of the coaching staff under new head coach Rick Tocchet. During his tenure in Tampa Bay, Tocchet asked Walz to personally tutor former number one draft pick Steven Stamkos.[5] In an interview, Stamkos told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "It was pretty special that he took the time to work with me and make me a better player, and I'm thankful for it."[6]

In February 2010, Lightning general manager Brian Lawton informed Walz he was being replaced by Jim Johnson, then head coach of the Lightning's AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals. In turn, Lawton offered Walz the opportunity to take Johnson's place as head coach of the Admirals. When Walz declined due to family reasons, Lawton dismissed him from the organization.[7] Later, it was revealed Lawton made the change without consulting Tocchet.[8]

Regular season and playoffsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1987–88 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 1 1 1 2 0
1988–89 Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL 63 29 75 104 32 8 1 5 6 6
1989–90 Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL 56 54 86 140 69 19 13 24 37 33
1989–90 Boston Bruins NHL 2 1 1 2 0
1990–91 Maine Mariners AHL 20 8 12 20 19 2 0 0 0 21
1990–91 Boston Bruins NHL 56 8 8 16 32 2 0 0 0 0
1991–92 Maine Mariners AHL 21 13 11 24 38
1991–92 Hershey Bears AHL 41 13 28 41 37 6 1 2 3 0
1991–92 Boston Bruins NHL 15 0 3 3 12
1991–92 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 2 1 0 1 0
1992–93 Hershey Bears AHL 78 35 45 80 106
1993–94 Calgary Flames NHL 53 11 27 38 16 6 3 0 3 2
1993–94 Saint John Flames AHL 15 6 6 12 14
1994–95 Calgary Flames NHL 39 6 12 18 11 1 0 0 0 0
1995–96 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 38 20 35 55 58
1995–96 Detroit Red Wings NHL 2 0 0 0 0
1996–97 EV Zug NLA 41 24 22 46 67
1997–98 EV Zug NLA 38 18 34 52 32
1998–99 EV Zug NLA 42 22 27 49 75
1999–00 HC Lugano NLA 13 7 11 18 14
1999–00 Long Beach Ice Dogs IHL 6 4 3 7 8
2000–01 Minnesota Wild NHL 82 18 12 30 37
2001–02 Minnesota Wild NHL 64 10 20 30 43
2002–03 Minnesota Wild NHL 80 13 19 32 63 18 7 6 13 14
2003–04 Minnesota Wild NHL 57 12 13 25 32
2005–06 Minnesota Wild NHL 82 19 18 37 61
2006–07 Minnesota Wild NHL 62 9 15 24 30 5 0 1 1 4
2007–08 Minnesota Wild NHL 11 1 3 4 6
NHL totals 607 109 151 260 343 32 10 7 17 20

Personal lifeEdit

As of 2018, Walz works as a sports analyst on Fox Sports North for the Minnesota Wild. He and his wife Kerry-Anne[9] have five children: Kelvin,[10] Jaedyn,[10] Brehna,[10] Cheyne,[11] and Wrexyn.[11]

Walz volunteered as head coach with the Raptors of East Ridge High School in Woodbury, Minnesota. There he coached his son, Kelvin, on the boys varsity ice hockey team, and a few years later he coached his daughter, Jaedyn, on the girls varsity hockey team. He now spends as much time as he can watching his two younger children play hockey, as he was gone playing hockey for the majority of his three oldest children youth hockey careers.

ReferencesEdit

2005 NHL Official Guide & Record Book ISBN 0-920445-91-8 https://www.minnesotanhlalumni.com/a-new-kind-of-game-tape-minnesota-wild-alum-wes-walz-goes-from-interviewee-to-interviewer-with-fox-sports-north/

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Scott Pellerin
Minnesota Wild captain
December 2000
Succeeded by
Brad Bombardir
Preceded by
Brian Rolston
Minnesota Wild captain
Mar/Apr 2006
Succeeded by
Brian Rolston