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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes



The Phoenix Coyotes announced today that Coyotes' Associate Coach Barry Smith has resigned from the team and has accepted a position as head coach and director of hockey operations with SKA St. Petersburg in the Russian Elite League.

"I would like to thank Barry Smith for all his hard work and dedication to the Phoenix Coyotes organization these past two seasons," said Coyotes' Managing Partner and Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "Barry is a great coach and a true professional. This is a great opportunity for him to be a head coach and I know he will be successful with SKA St. Petersburg. We will miss him as a coach, and more importantly I will miss his companionship. I wish him and his family good luck."

Smith joined the Coyotes organization on August 8, 2005 and spent the past two seasons behind the bench as an associate head coach for Wayne Gretzky.

"I would like to thank Wayne Gretzky, Jerry Moyes, Jeff Shumway, Mike Barnett, Cliff Fletcher and the entire Phoenix Coyotes organization for a tremendous experience and opportunity with the Coyotes," said Smith. "Wayne Gretzky is a first class person and a tremendous human being. It was a privilege to work with him and I am proud to call him a friend. I will continue to support Wayne and the Coyotes organization and help them in any way I can. I would also like to thank all the Coyotes players and training staff that I coached and worked with over the past two seasons. It was fun and rewarding to watch our players' progress."

Smith spent 11 seasons as an associate coach with the Detroit Red Wings prior to joining the Coyotes. In his NHL career, he has contributed to five Stanley Cup championships: three with Detroit (1997, 1998 and 2002) and two with Pittsburgh (1991 and 1992). With Detroit, Smith worked under Scotty Bowman for 10 seasons and Dave Lewis for one season.

"We are grateful for everything Barry has done for the Phoenix Coyotes organization," said Coyotes' CEO Jeff Shumway. "We wish him and his family all the best in the future with SKA St. Petersburg."

Smith, 55, came to Detroit on July 28, 1993, after serving as an assistant at Pittsburgh for three seasons, first under the late Bob Johnson and then two seasons with Bowman as the Penguins captured two Stanley Cup titles. Smith also spent three years as an assistant with the Buffalo Sabres.

Smith will serve as an associate coach for Team USA at the World Championships in Russia April 27 - May 13. He will be making his third appearance with a U.S. men's team after serving as an assistant to Bob Johnson at the 1991 Canada Cup and to Ron Wilson at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

Smith has a multitude of international coaching experience on his resume, having coached in Sweden, Norway and Italy. He served as an assistant coach for Norway's national team from 1984-86 and led the Italian National Team at the 1989 IIHF World Championship. In addition, Smith was selected to be an associate head coach for Sweden's national team at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.

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