Willie Desjardins is returning to his junior roots as the next head coach and general manager of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers.
Desjardins was head coach of the Tigers from 2002-2010, where he led the team to two WHL championship wins. He replaces Shaun Clouston, who took over for him in 2010 and was let go on Thursday.
“I am really excited to be coming back to the Tigers and to Medicine Hat. It is a great organization, outstanding community and I have always felt it’s home,” Desjardins said in a press release.
Desjardins, 62, served as interim head coach of the Los Angeles Kings this season, joining the team in November after John Stevens was fired. Before that, he was head coach of the Vancouver Canucks (2014-17) and an assistant coach with the Dallas Stars (2010-12).
“Obviously we know exactly what Willie brings as general manager and head coach because of his previous tenure with the organization,” said Darrell Maser, president of the Tigers in a press release. “Ultimately, Willie Desjardins helped establish the winning tradition of the Medicine Hat Tigers. We are excited to welcome Willie back to the Tigers Hockey Club and the community.”
The Tigers are coming off a 35-27-6 season where they finished in the first wild card spot in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. Medicine Hat lost to the Edmonton Oil Kings in six games in the opening round of the playoffs.