COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets Associate Coach Craig Hartsburg has informed the club he is retiring from coaching after a playing and coaching career that has spanned nearly four decades, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.
Hartsburg, who has served as the club’s associate coach since June 20, 2012, will remain with the organization’s hockey operations department in a to be determined capacity.
“I’ve been very fortunate to spend the past 30-plus years in the game as a player or coach and have enjoyed every minute of it, but my priority now is to spend more time with my wife, children and grandchildren,” said Hartsburg. “I have really enjoyed my time in Columbus, working with both John Tortorella and Todd Richards, and appreciate the opportunity to continue to be part of the organization in a role that will also allow me to devote more time to my family.”
“Craig Hartsburg has been a great asset to our coaching staff over the past four seasons and we are very grateful for all of his contributions to our club,” said Kekalainen. “While we are disappointed that he will not be a part of our coaching staff next season, we understand his desire to spend more time with his family and are happy that he will continue to contribute to our hockey operations efforts moving forward.”
Hartsburg joined the Blue Jackets after spending the 2011-12 campaign as associate coach with the Calgary Flames. He also served stints as the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks from 1995-98, Anaheim Ducks from 1998-2001 and Ottawa Senators in 2008-09. He led his clubs to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three of his five full seasons as a head coach and also served as an assistant coach with the Minnesota North Stars (1989-90) and Philadelphia Flyers (1990-94, 2002-04).
Prior to joining the Flames, Hartsburg spent two seasons as the head coach of the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips, leading the club to a 75-54-16 record and a pair of playoff appearances from 2009-11, and was named 2010 WHL Western Conference Coach of the Year. He posted a 181-117-42 record with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from 2001-02 (OHL Coach of the Year) and 2004-08, leading the club to a pair of West Division titles. In 1994-95, he guided the OHL’s Guelph Storm to a 47-14-5 mark and the Central Division championship, earning Canadian Hockey League Coach of the Year honors.
Hartsburg also was part of Team Canada coaching staffs that won three-straight gold medals at the World Junior Championships. As head coach, he led Team Canada to consecutive gold medals at the 2007 and 2008 tournaments. As an assistant coach to Brent Sutter, he helped the squad win gold at the 2006 tournament.
A defenseman, Hartsburg was the first pick, sixth overall, of the Minnesota North Stars in the 1979 NHL Draft. He went on to play 10 seasons with the club, registering 98-315-413 with 818 penalty minutes in 570 games from 1979-89. He helped the North Stars advance to the 1981 Stanley Cup Final and appeared in the 1980, 1982 and 1983 All-Star Games. His best season was 1981-82, when he set career highs for goals, assists and points, 17-60-77, in 76 games.
Hartsburg played junior hockey with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from 1975-78 and made his professional debut with the World Hockey Association’s Birmingham Bulls in 1978-89. He also represented Canada at the 1978 World Junior Championships and the 1981 and 1987 Canada Cup Tournaments, and was named the top defenseman at the 1987 World Championships.