Earlier this month, Bob Boughner left the Windsor Spitfires to join the Columbus Blue Jackets as an assistant coach, in a move widely received as a ‘get out of Windsor quickly before you coach a team without Taylor Hall’ type move. (Boughner had a 148-37-19 record with Hall, and was 18-43-7 without)
But Don Hay, a three-time Memorial Cup winner and somebody who wouldn’t have to buy a beer in Kamloops or Vancouver, leaving to Edmonton to be an assistant to Tom Renney is more curious.
Hay is 409-195-27-31 career in the Western Hockey League through nine seasons. He was 61-65-20-4 in two seasons with the Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes.
Renney and Hay ran back-to-back the best junior program in Canadian Hockey history, which seems like a great fit for the Oilers who are essentially a junior team. But last year, when Pat Quinn was hired, the prevalent argument was that Pat Quinn was great with young players.
Riddle: What do Dave Tippett, Claude Julien, Bruce Boudreau and Alain Vigneault all have in common? (Aside from the rather rotund Julien, Boudreau and Vigneault having a passion for apple fritters) They’re all recent Jack Adams Award winners who came to the NHL from minor pro teams, rather than junior hockey. In fact, the last NHL coach of the year winner to come directly from a junior team is Jacques Lemaire, who coached the 1982-83 Longueuil Chevaliers to a 37-29-4 record.
Hay has accomplished it all except for NHL success, but if the recent trend in guys like Craig Hartsburg and Brent Sutter, successful junior coaches who have not seen that translated to the NHL, Hay better stick with the Giants, where he’s building on his legacy as one of the premier junior coaches.