John Tortorella officially became the 17th head coach in Vancouver Canucks history on Tuesday, when the team officially confirmed the news that had been circulating since Friday.
Tortorella, who turned 55 Monday, succeeds Alain Vigneault, who fittingly took over Tortorella’s former job with the New York Rangers.
“John has coached championship teams and is passionate about winning,” Canuck GM Mike Gillis said in a statement. “He has a proven ability to bring the best out of his players and we believe he has all of the qualities to bring our team success.”
Tortorella was a standout forward for the University of Maine hockey team from 1978-81.
Tortorella spent 13 years as an NHL head coach with the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. He has posted a record of 410-340-37-67 in 854 NHL regular season games, and guided eight teams to the playoffs. He won the Stanley Cup in 2003-04 with the Lightning.
Tortorella told the Canucks’ official website that he’s looking forward to changing the negative perception that evolved while he was in New York.
“I think it’s come to the point with me where I’m kind of being defined as ‘that lunatic,’ not only on the bench, but also after games with media,” he said. “I don’t want to be defined that way, but I do make my own bed in that type of situation and I need to make some corrections, I need to make some adjustments in that part of it.
“I’m dealing with an older team here, as I look at the roster, I think I need to respect the older players and some of the processes they’ve gone through and make adjustments with myself as far as how I handle them.”