EDMONTON – Fresh off coaching the Edmonton Oil Kings to a Memorial Cup, Derek Laxdal has been hired as head coach of the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars.
The 48-year-old from Gimli, Man., takes over for Willie Desjardins who was recently hired to coach the Vancouver Canucks.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to coach in the American Hockey League,” Laxdal said.
“I’m looking forward to taking that next step and hopefully coaching in the National Hockey League some day.”
The Oil Kings, who are owned by the Edmonton Oilers, and the Texas Stars made the announcement Thursday.
The Oil Kings won a pair of Western Hockey League championships during Laxdal’s four seasons behind the bench. Laxdal became the first WHL coach ever to record three straight 50-win seasons in 2013-14 as Edmonton finished atop the Eastern Conference for the third consecutive season with a 50-19-2-1 record.
“Derek’s been a big part of our success, and it’s great for him to get the chance to move forward in his coaching career. He’s certainly helped our organization grow and deserves this opportunity. It gives you an example that it’s not just about developing players; it’s about developing people. It’s good to see those people get rewarded when they should,” said Oil Kings General Manager Randy Hansch.
After posting a 50-19-3 record this past season, Edmonton defeated the Guelph Storm 6-3 in the Memorial Cup final.
“We appreciate everything Derek has done for the Oil Kings the past four years and wish him the best of luck in Texas,” said Hansch. “We will begin the process to hire a new head coach in short order.”
Laxdal coached the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads to five 40-win seasons and won the Kelly Cup in 2007 prior to his arrival in Edmonton.
With files from Global News.
© 2014 The Canadian Press