The Columbus Blue Jackets have named Assistant Coach Gary Agnew interim head coach, club President and General Manager Doug MacLean announced Tuesday. Agnew replaces Gerard Gallant, who was relieved of his coaching duties on Monday. He will make his debut behind the bench on Wednesday when the Blue Jackets host the Nashville Predators at Nationwide Arena.
“A lot of hockey remains to be played this season. Despite our disappointing start, we remain committed to building a team that will be successful on the ice,” said MacLean. “Gary is an excellent coach who knows our players well and we’re confident he’ll do an outstanding job. At the same time, it is our responsibility to re-evaluate our personnel and organizational needs to ensure the long-term success of our hockey club. That process will begin immediately.”
Agnew, 46, joined the Blue Jackets as an assistant coach in July 2006 after serving as the head coach of the Syracuse Crunch, the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, for the previous six seasons. He is the winningest and longest-serving coach in Crunch history after leading the club to a 200-177-43-40 record in 480 games. In 2005-06, he led Syracuse to a franchise-record 102 points with a 47-25-5-3 mark.
Prior to joining the Crunch, he spent 10 seasons as a head coach in the Ontario Hockey League, the last three with the London Knights. He began his coaching career with the London Knights in 1990-91 before moving to the Kingston Frontenacs in 1994-95. He returned to the Knights for the 1997-98 season and coached them to a Western Division Title. In 664 OHL games, he posted a 329-282-53 record and was named OHL Coach of the Year and First Team All-Star Coach in 1992-93 and 1997-98.
The Blue Jackets return to action on Wednesday when they host the Predators. Game time is set for 7 p.m. ET with live coverage on FSN Ohio beginning with the IceBreaker pre-game show at 6:30 p.m. Coverage also includes the Blue Jackets Ice Cap post-game show immediately following the game. The game will also be broadcast live on the Blue Jackets Radio Network and flagship stations WBNS-AM Sports Radio 1460 The Fan and WWCD-FM, CD101.