Housley Joins The Preds Staff
For the first time in the Predators’ history, a former defenseman will be part of the team’s coaching staff, as Phil Housley arrives in Music City.
Phil Housley had a Hall of Fame career – 21-seasons long in the National Hockey League. He began as an 18-year-old, fresh out of the United States Hockey League and his hometown St. Paul (MN) Vulcans.
The Buffalo Sabres took him sixth overall in the 1982 draft. Then-Sabres Coach/GM Scotty Bowman likened him to the “next Bobby Orr,” that’s how highly he was regarded.
No one could reasonably expect to measure up to those expectations, but consider he played almost 1,500 games in the league (only Chris Chelios played in more), and tallied the most points (1,232) by any player born in the United States when he retired in 2003. Mike Modano subsequently broke that mark in 2007.
Housley was so creative and gifted offensively that sometimes he was moved up to center a forward line. That also happened with long-ago Red Wing and Maple Leaf Red Kelly.
Inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, he is a strong candidate for the overall Hall as well. Phil played in seven NHL All-Star games, and made and the All-Rookie team in 1983.
Internationally, he also made his mark as part of two gold medal efforts: as a player in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and as Head Coach of Team USA in the 2013 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia.
He began his coaching career at the high school level in his native Minnesota with the Stillwater Ponies, where he coached eight seasons before taking on the head coaching job for the U.S. National junior team. In addition to the gold medal his club won this season in Russia, he was also an Assistant Coach in the recently concluded Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships, which ended with a bronze medal. The Predators’ Craig Smith and Bobby Butler played on that team.
Housley highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnjGInqmBIg
Housley after World Junior Team’s training camp: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGkDTm5I0qg
Interview with Minnesota Hockey Magazine: http://minnesotahockeymagazine.com/In-Depth/Phil-Housley--Coaching-Plans/144070407