The Vancouver Canucks announced Friday that Bruce Boudreau was returning as head coach of the hockey club for the 2022-’23 season and he addressed the media late in the afternoon from a golf cart in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
‘Gabby’ and his fans and the club couldn’t be more pleased.
“Jim (Rutherford, President of Hockey Operations) was very happy, I talked to Patrik (Allvin – General Manager) who was very happy, so we’re back where we started, trying to build the best team that we can for the Canucks,” Boudreau said. “I really believe that the last 56 games we were a playoff team and hopefully we can start off where we left off and make it the dream come true for next year.”
The reasons for his delay in exercising the option on the 2nd year of his two-year contract involved personal logistics in Vancouver, arrangements back home in Hershey with the junior hockey team he owns with his wife, and the well being of his 90-year-old mother in Toronto.
The delay did not involve an issue with, or disagreements regarding, the future of the Vancouver Canucks assistant coaches. The final make up of the 2022-’23 staff will be determined by management after reviews are completed. One can assume the head coach will have a say before the process is finalized.
Assistant coach Scott Walker came in with Boudreau and won’t be going anywhere unless his health becomes an issue. Jason King, Brad Shaw, and Kyle Gustafson were inherited from Travis Green’s staff. Gabby worked with King on the power play while Shaw handled the penalty kill after Walker was injured by a errant puck mid-season and missed more than a month.
When Boudreau delayed his acceptance of his option last week, Canucks fans expressed themselves with anger and trepidation on Vancouver Hockey Now’s social media sites.
Aside from the obvious impact on the players, Boudreau’s departure would have been a public relations nightmare for the Canucks business.
“We will know by June 1st, if the Canucks let him get away, just turn GM Place into a lawn bowling centre,” said one fan while referring to the arena’s previous name. “Lose him and you lose me,” said another.
The mood changed dramatically on Wednesday when ‘Gabby’ indicated he hoped to officially be back by next week. The timeline sped up today much to the fans delight.
“Fantastic news, watch out next year cause here we come”, “There never should of been a doubt of his return, he’s a great coach!” and “Welcome home Bruce” were common sentiments.
No more doubt. The team moves ahead with their head coach.
‘Bruce … there it is.’