“It’s a very difficult, a tough day,” Oilers president of operations and general manager Ken Holland told reporters Thursday afternoon.
Tippett, who hails from Moosomin, Sask., began his NHL head coaching career with the Los Angeles Kings in 1999 before lengthy stays with the Dallas Stars and Phoenix and Arizona Coyotes.
He was hired by the Oilers in May 2019, replacing Ken Hitchcock who coached the team for one season after Todd McLellan was fired.
Associate coach Jim Playfair has also been let go.
Holland said the two were told of the decision Thursday morning.
“It’s the first time in my career I’ve let a coach go mid-season,” Holland said.
“It’s a gut feel. I’ve been around the National Hockey League and around teams a long time and I just felt I needed to make a — at the end of the day, I built the team. I take full responsibility for where we’re at. Certainly Jim and Tip lost their jobs today, but there’s a general manager and all the people that I hire that have come to this today.”
The Oilers have struggled the last few months, with Holland saying it felt like the team wasn’t leading on the ice.
“It’s been up and down like a toilet seat. There are stretches where we play pretty good and then we don’t play good… It sort of feels like we’ve been chasing the game for two months,” he said.
“It felt like I needed to do something to see if we could get a different result, a better result. Now we watch.”
Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer will have extended coverage of the changes Thursday until 3 p.m.
To replace Tippett, the Oilers are bringing in Jay Woodcroft, head coach of the Bakersfield Condors. Woodcroft will be joined by assistant coach Dave Manson. The two will finish out the season.
Woodcroft, 45, was born in Toronto and has 13 years experience in the NHL, including three years with Edmonton.
He was a video coach for the Detroit Red Wings from 2005-2008, an assistant coach for the San Jose Sharks from 2009-2015 and then an assistant coach with the Oilers from 2015-2018.
Woodcroft has also been an assistant coach for Team Canada and Team North America in the World Championship and World Cup of Hockey.