Maple Leafs add three assistant coaches to staff

Toronto Maple Leafs have brought Memorial Cup winning head coach DJ Smith aboard as assistant coach, and the HC@Noon crew is completely on board with this move.

The Toronto Maple Leafs named Jim Hiller, D.J. Smith and Andrew Brewer assistant coaches Tuesday.

Hiller and Brewer were two of Babcock’s assistants with the Detroit Red Wings last season, while Smith joins the Leafs after spending the last three seasons as head coach of the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League.

The team also announced the hiring of Matthew J. Herring as the team’s head strength and conditioning coach. Herring spent the last two seasons as an athletic performance associate with the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA.

“I’m excited to have them join the organization,” Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said in a press release. “We have a lot of work ahead of us but are all thrilled to be part of the Maple Leafs. We’re grateful for the cooperation afforded to us by the Detroit Red Wings, Oshawa Generals and San Antonio Spurs.”

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Hiller was in charge of the Red Wings’ power play last season. Detroit’s 23.8 percent efficiency ranked second in the NHL behind only the Washington Capitals. The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, had the fifth worst power play in the league, scoring on only 15.9 percent of their man advantages.

“I’m excited at the opportunity of working again with Mike, and to also add to the value that both D.J. and Andrew bring,” Hiller said in the release. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many great organizations – most recently the Red Wings – and am grateful for the chance to now join the Leafs.”

Brewer’s role on the Red Wings was co-ordinating the team’s coaching staff. Prior joining the Red Wings, Brewer spent three years with Hockey Canada working as a video coach. He also worked with Babcock for Team Canada at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Smith led the Generals to the Memorial Cup in May and was OHL coach of the year in 2013-14. Before joining the Generals in 2012-13, he served as an assistant with the Windsor Spitfires, winning Memorial Cup titles in 2009 and 2010.

“I would like to thank Rocco Tullio and the entire Oshawa Generals organization as well as our great fans for supporting myself and my family over the past three seasons,” Smith added. “I am excited to begin a new chapter with the Maple Leafs and work alongside Mike Babcock, Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer.”

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