Wilbrod "Willie" Desjardins (born February 11, 1957) is a Canadian professional ice hockey coach and player. He is currently head coach and general manager of the Medicine Hat Tigers. He has also been the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks from 2014 to 2017 and the interim head coach for the Los Angeles Kings for the 2018–19 season. In July 2017, he was named head of the coaching staff for Canada's men's team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Desjardins in 2014 with the Calder Cup
February 11, 1957|
Climax, Saskatchewan, Canada
|Height||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Weight||160 lb (73 kg; 11 st 6 lb)|
Moose Jaw Canucks|
Swift Current Broncos
Desjardins began his hockey career playing in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) for the Moose Jaw Canucks from 1971 to 1974 and split the 1974-75 season between the Moose Jaw Canucks and the Swift Current Broncos. He played in the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL) for the Lethbridge Broncos from 1975 through 1977. He followed his junior hockey career by studying at the University of Saskatchewan and played with the Saskatchewan Huskies under then head coach Dave King, serving as captain of the 1982-83 University of Saskatchewan Huskies hockey team that won the Canadian university championship, after losing back-to-back national championship finals in previous seasons. King recommended him to Alex Andjelic, head coach of Vissers Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Desjardins spent the 1983/84 season in Nijmegen and won, as captain, the first Dutch championship with the club.
Desjardins began his coaching career at the University of Calgary in 1985 as assistant coach and became head coach in 1989. He then coached the Seibu Bears in Japan. He then returned to Canada and became head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, replacing Donn Clark midway through the 1997–98 season. He was then offered a job as an assistant coach for the Canada men's national team.
Once hired by the Medicine Hat Tigers, Desjardins was instrumental in the Tigers' first playoff appearance in five years in the 2002–03 season, leading them to a Memorial Cup appearance and their 4th WHL championship in 2003–04, and a 96-point Eastern Conference regular season champion 2004–05 season. Desjardins took on the duties of general manager for the 2005–06 season.
In 2009, he was the assistant coach of Team Canada's World Junior Gold medal team, under head coach Pat Quinn and alongside fellow assistant coaches Guy Boucher and Dave Cameron. Desjardins was the head coach of Team Canada's 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships team.
From 2010 to 2012, Desjardins served as the associate head coach of the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League before being selected as the head coach of their AHL team in Cedar Park, Texas in June 2012. On June 17, 2014, he led his Texas Stars team to their first Calder Cup Championship.
On June 23, 2014, Desjardins was hired as the head coach for the Vancouver Canucks, replacing John Tortorella, who was dismissed as head coach after one season. On April 10, 2017, he was fired after the team missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season, along with assistants Perry Pearn and Doug Lidster. Desjardins posted a record of 109–110–27 in three seasons with the club.
On July 25, 2017, he was named head coach of Canada's men's team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with his university head coach Dave King as an assistant. In December 2017, he led Team Canada to gold at the Spengler Cup in Davos.
On November 4, 2018, Desjardins was named interim head coach by the Los Angeles Kings after they fired John Stevens. Desjardins' presence did not lead to the team improving as the Kings went 27–34–8 and finished in last place in the Western Conference. One day after the season ended, the Kings announced that they would not bring Desjardins back for the 2019–20 season.
Desjardins holds bachelor of education (BEd) and a master of social work (MSW) degrees. He and his wife, Rhonda, have two sons and a daughter. Desjardins is also the owner of a golf course, two RV parks, and a mini golf course. His daughter studies journalism, and has her broadcasting degree.
Head coaching recordEdit
|Saskatoon Blades||1997–98||39||10||23||6||–||26||.333||4th in East||Lost in 1st Round|
|Medicine Hat Tigers||2002–03||72||29||34||2||7||67||.465||3rd in Central||Lost in 2nd Round|
|Medicine Hat Tigers||2003–04||72||40||20||9||3||92||.639||1st in Central||Won Championship|
|Medicine Hat Tigers||2004–05||72||45||21||4||2||96||.667||1st in Central||Lost in 2nd Round|
|Medicine Hat Tigers||2005–06||72||47||16||–||9||103||.715||1st in Central||Lost in 3rd Round|
|Medicine Hat Tigers||2006–07||72||52||17||–||3||107||.743||1st in Central||Won Championship|
|Medicine Hat Tigers||2007–08||72||43||22||–||7||93||.646||3rd in Central||Lost in 1st Round|
|Medicine Hat Tigers||2008–09||72||36||29||–||7||79||.549||2nd in Central||Lost in 2nd Round|
|Medicine Hat Tigers||2009–10||72||41||23||–||8||90||.625||3rd in Central||Lost in 2nd Round|
|WHL Totals||615||343||205||21||46||753||.612||4 Division Titles||9 Playoff Appearances|
|Texas Stars||2012–13||76||43||22||11||97||.638||1st in South||Lost in 2nd Round|
|Texas Stars||2013–14||76||48||18||10||106||.697||1st in South||Won Calder Cup|
|AHL Totals||152||91||40||21||203||.668||2 Division Titles||2 Playoff Appearances|
1 Calder Cup
|VAN||2014–15||82||48||29||5||101||2nd in Pacific||2||4||.333||Lost in First Round (Flames)|
|VAN||2015–16||82||31||38||13||75||6th in Pacific||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|VAN||2016–17||82||30||43||9||69||7th in Pacific||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|LAK||2018–19||69||27||34||8||(71)||8th in Pacific||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|Total||315||136||144||35||307||.487||1 Playoff Appearance|
- Harrison, Doug (July 25, 2017). "Willie Desjardins fronts Canadian Olympic hockey coaching staff". CBC Sports. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- "Willie Desjardins hockey statistics and profile at hockeydb.com". hockeydb.com. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
- Heroux, Devin (February 1, 2018). "Canadian Olympic hockey coaches go way back to the 'dog' days". CBC Sports. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
- "Willie Desjardins coach Vancouver Canucks | AHOUD Devils Nijmegen". nijmegendevils.nl. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
- "2009 Team Canada Roster". Retrieved June 13, 2012.
- "Desjardins named coach in Texas". Retrieved June 13, 2012.
- "Willie Desjardins named Canucks head coach". Retrieved June 23, 2012.
- "Canucks relieve Willie Desjardins of duties". NHL.com. April 10, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- "Canada defends Spengler Cup title with 3-0 victory over Switzerland". CTVNews. December 31, 2017. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
- Greenspan, Dan (November 4, 2018). "Stevens fired as coach of Kings, Desjardins named replacement". NHL.com. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
- "Willie Desjardins Named Head Coach; John Stevens Relieved of His Duties". NHL.com. November 4, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
- "Willie Desjardins Named GM & Head Coach". OurSports Central. May 31, 2019.
- "Canucks announce Willie Desjardins as 18th head coach in franchise history | (CKNW AM) AM980". cknw.com. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
- "Willie Desjardins hired as coach of Vancouver Canucks - NHL.com - News". nhl.com. Retrieved October 29, 2014.