To the surprise of nobody, the Vancouver Canucks fired head coach Alain Vigneault, associate coach Rick Bowness, and assistant coach Newell Brown on Wednesday afternoon.
“We have made the very difficult decision to relieve Alain Vigneault, Rick Bowness and Newell Brown of their coaching duties today,” said Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement. “Alain, Rick and Newell worked tirelessly to lead this team to great on-ice success. I am personally grateful to each of them and their families for their commitment to the Canucks and the city of Vancouver and wish them continued success in future.”
Vigneault leaves the Canucks organization as the team’s winningest coach with a record of 313-170-57. He also lead the team first place finishes in the Northwest Division in six of his seven seasons as coach. The Canucks also won the President’s Trophy twice and, of course, a Western Conference Championship in 2011.
The team and Vigneault have been unable to match the success they had in the 2011 playoffs. They have lost 12 of their last 14 playoff games scoring only 20 goals. After two consecutive disappointing first round exits, it became clear Vigneault’s shelf life was coming to an end. It was no longer a matter of if he would be fired, but when.
Video coach Darryl Williams and goaltending coach Rollie Melanon will remain with the team for now. The new head coach will determine if they are retained. Gillis did offer his support for Melanson saying he “works very well with [goaltender] Cory Schneider.”
Since our 1st year when we arrived together, AV would always tell me that he’d be gone before I would. I guess he was right. Very ironic….
—Strombone (@strombone1) May 22, 2013
Vigneault issued a statement after his firing on Canucks.com:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Aquilini family, Mike Gillis, Lorne Henning, Laurence Gilman, Stan Smyl, Victor de Bonis and the entire management, scouting, training and front office staff with the Vancouver Canucks. The past seven years have been an honour for me to coach and work for a great franchise in a wonderful Canadian city. To work in a city with such passionate and loyal fans is a privilege – I enjoyed every moment of it.
I am grateful to Dave Nonis and Steve Tambellini for the opportunity they provided me eight years ago. Over the past seven years, I have made many good friends in Vancouver and had the chance to coach quality players who cared deeply about their profession and were committed to winning. I am grateful to the players and their families for the sacrifice and dedication they showed in an effort to be the best they could be. Watching as many of our players started families, became fathers and grew as men, on and off of the ice, was equally rewarding.
To Rick Bowness, Newell Brown, Rollie Melanson and Darryl Williams – I say thank you for your tireless effort every day – I am grateful for your friendship and dedication. You should all be very proud of your achievements.
I am proud of many of the things we accomplished as a group these past seven seasons in Vancouver and only wish we were able to win the Canucks first Stanley Cup. I am a career coach and it is what I love to do. I hope to coach again in this League and will always have good memories of my time and the fans in Vancouver.