The Tampa Bay Lightning have Brandon Bochenski, David Hale and Matt Smaby.
Now, they have a former Sioux coaching them, too.
Rick Wilson, who played at UND and started his coaching career in Grand Forks, too, was hired as the associate head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning today.
Wilson was most recently the associate coach with the Dallas Stars under former Sioux Dave Tippett. But Dallas’ organization was shuffled this summer and the new regime ousted Tippett and Wilson.
In Tampa, Wilson will serve under head coach Rick Tocchet.
According to the release, it sounds like the Lightning want Wilson to work with the defensemen and help control the game from the blue line. General manager Brian Lawton said:
"With 20 years of NHL coaching experience, we believe Rick is exactly what this club needs as an associate coach and we are excited that he has elected to join our staff. As our team develops, we will look to control the game from the blue line; Rick shares that philosophy, understands that concept and will teach our young defensemen to do just that. Additionally, his past relationships ensure he will fit seamlessly with head coach Rick Tocchet, assistant Wes Walz and goaltending coach Cap Raeder to give us a very cohesive staff which can lead our team to long-term success."
Regarding the hire, Wilson said:
"I am happy to be joining Rick Tocchet and the staff in Tampa because I see the makings of a pretty good team, with some good young players including (Steve) Stamkos and (Viktor) Hedman combining with Stanley Cup champions like (Vinny) Lecavalier and (Martin) St. Louis. After extensive talks with Brian (Lawton) and Rick (Tocchet), I feel we can do some good things with the defense there and I look forward to being part of building something special over time like we did in Dallas."
Tocchet also released a statement on the hire. He said:
"I am very pleased that Brian (Lawton) and Rick (Wilson) were able to work out a deal to bring Rick to Tampa Bay. His resume as a defensive coach is impeccable; he has worked for many years and coached in big games and big situations, including the Stanley Cup Finals. He makes our staff better, he will make me a better head coach and I am very excited about having him lead a group of young defensemen that we want to see grow together for the next several years."