Jay Woodcroft is the Edmonton Oilers‘ new head coach, replacing Dave Tippett in the wake of the team’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, the team announced on Thursday.
Associate coach Jim Playfair was also fired, according to the team.
The Oilers have been in free fall since Dec. 1, when they were 16-5-0 and atop the Pacific Division. Since then, they have won just seven out of their last 23 games.
The Oilers (23-18-3) are five points adrift of the Calgary Flames, who own the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Under Tippett, 60, the Oilers were 95-62-14 over two-plus seasons. The Oilers made the playoffs in his first two seasons, but were bounced from the first round both times.
Woodcroft, 45, was promoted from the Oilers’ AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, where he has been head coach since 2018-19. Over three-plus seasons in Bakersfield, Woodcroft’s record is 105-71-21 and was highlighted by a Pacific Division championship last season.
Having been in the AHL, Woodcroft will be familiar with several of the current Oilers who worked their way up through the system, defenceman Evan Bouchard being the most notable.