COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets announced June 20 that former Minnesota Wild head coach Todd Richards has joined the club as an assistant coach. Richards led the Wild to a 77-71-16 record from 2009-11.
"When looking at this position, I wanted someone with NHL head coaching experience who could come here and help us to do the right things and move our team forward and Todd fits that bill perfectly," said Blue Jackets Head Coach Scott Arniel. "I've coached against him numerous times and have always had great respect for him and how he prepared his teams. Having been a part of the Minnesota, San Jose and Pittsburgh organizations the past several years, Todd brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be very valuable to me, our coaching staff and players."
Richards, 44, was named the second head coach in Wild history on June 16, 2009 and led the club to a 38-36-8 record in 2009-10 and a 39-35-8 mark last season, while the club's power play unit converted nearly 19 percent of its man advantage opportunities during that span. In 2008-09 as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks, he helped the club to an NHL-best 53-18-11 record and was responsible for a power play unit that ranked third in the league at 24.2 percent.
Prior to his stint with the Sharks, Richards spent two seasons as the head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins from 2006-08, compiling a 98-49-12 record and leading the club to the 2008 Calder Cup Final. He also coached the PlanetUSA squad at the 2007 Rbk Hockey/AHL All-Star Classic in Toronto. He began his coaching career as an assistant with the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals from 2002-06, helping the club to a pair of West Division titles, two appearances in the Calder Cup Final and the 2004 Calder Cup championship.
Richards played four seasons at the University of Minnesota from 1985-89. He was a three-time WCHA Second All-Star Team pick, helping the Golden Gophers win two Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) titles in 1988 and 1989 and reach the NCAA title game in 1989. He served as the team's captain and earned Second Team All-America honors as a senior. He is the University of Minnesota's all-time leading scorer among defensemen with 30-128-158.
Montreal's third pick, 33rd overall, in the 1985 Entry Draft, Richards made his professional debut in 1990 and appeared in eight career NHL games with the Hartford Whalers between 1990-92, collecting four assists and four penalty minutes. His playing career would span 13 seasons, mostly in the AHL and International Hockey League. He helped Springfield win the 1991 Calder Cup championship, was a three-time IHL All-Star and won the 2001 Turner Cup title with the Orlando Solar Bears. He wrapped up his career in 2001-02 with Servette Geneve in Switzerland.
Richards was born on Oct. 20, 1966 in Robindale, Minnesota. He and his wife, Maryann, are the parents of sons, Zachary and Justin.