Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice, who was hired on June 23, finalized his coaching staff on Aug. 10, adding three new assistants to the fold. Joining a bench that includes Maurice, assistant Tuomo Ruutu and goaltending coach Robb Tallas are Myles Fee, Jamie Kompon, and Sylvain Lefebvre. Here is a look at what each of the three brings to the team.
The 41-year-old former defenseman didn’t play professional hockey, but he did play for the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) from 1998-2002 and played for NCAA Division III Manhattanville College in New York from 2002-06. He scored 75 points (15 goals, 60 assists) in 180 games in the MJHL and eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) in 37 games with Manhattanville.
Fee broke into coaching in 2008, when he became the video coach for the New York Rangers. After one year, he moved to Edmonton, serving as the Oilers’ video coach from 2009-2016. He then acted in the same role for the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Charlotte Checkers from 2016-20, also serving as video coach for Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey in 2016. He spent the last two seasons as the video coach for the Buffalo Sabres.
The 55-year-old Kompon played a little bit of minor league hockey, logging time in the ECHL from 1989-91. He played 20 games for the Hampton Road Admirals, 16 games for the Cincinnati Cyclones, and 23 games for the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds. A defenseman, he finished with 17 points (4 goals, 13 assists).
Immediately following his playing career, Kompon became a coach, serving as an assistant for his alma mater, McGill University, from 1991-96. After one year as an assistant for the AHL’s Baltimore Bandits, he moved to the NHL, joining the St. Louis Blues as a video coach. He stayed with the Blues until 2006 and had multiple roles, including conditioning coach, scout, and assistant coach. He was also Canada’s video coach during the 2006 World Cup.
Kompon was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Kings from 2006-12 and an assistant for the Chicago Blackhawks from 2012-14. He won the Stanley Cup in 2012 with the Kings and in 2013 with the Blackhawks. Following that, he was general manager and head coach of the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Portland Winterhawks for two years. For the last six seasons, he has served as an assistant coach and associate head coach of the Winnipeg Jets.
The 54-year-old Lefebvre has the most playing experience of the new arrivals. He was a defenseman for five different NHL teams (the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche, and Rangers) from 1989-2003, scoring 184 points (30 goals, 154 assists) in 945 career regular-season games and 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 129 career playoff games. He won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1996.
Lefebvre served as a scout for the Avalanche in 2006-07. After two years as an assistant for the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, he rejoined Colorado as an assistant coach, spending three more seasons there. Following his third stint in the Rockies, he was an AHL head coach for six years, heading the Hamilton Bulldogs from 2012-15, the St. John’s IceCaps from 2015-17, and the Laval Rocket in the 2017-18 season.
Lefebvre was an assistant coach for the AHL’s San Diego Gulls from 2018-21. He was hired as an assistant by the Columbus Blue Jackets last summer but was let go before the season due to his decision not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
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Despite coming off of the best regular season in franchise history, the Panthers will enter 2021-22 with plenty of new faces on the ice and behind the bench. The team’s 2022 playoff performance wasn’t what the Florida brass wanted, and they expect their team to compete for the Stanley Cup with the changes they’ve made.
Grant is a freelance writer covering the Florida Panthers/Columbus Blue Jackets and contributing to Morning Skate for THW. He started his own sports blog (Head in the Game) in 2013 and worked in the sports information department while at Trine University, from where he graduated in 2019. You can follow Grant on Twitter @G_Tingley.