--- Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Michael Barnett announced today that the Coyotes have signed Rick Tocchet, Barry Smith and Rick Bowness to multi-year contracts as associate coaches for head coach Wayne Gretzky's staff. As per club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
"I am very pleased to name these three qualified hockey men to serve as our associate coaches," said Gretzky. "I'm ecstatic to have this staff and I'm confident that we will be successful as a group."
Said Barnett: "The only certain formula for winning in this game is to adhere to the importance of a 'team' philosophy. That must first start with your coaching staff and then be ingrained into your players. We feel today that we have assembled a group of associate coaches, all hand-picked to work alongside Wayne, whose prior successes in hockey speaks for themselves. I hope that our fans are as excited about this group as the coaches are themselves to get started."
The 41-year-old Tocchet rejoins the Coyotes organization after serving one and a half seasons with the Colorado Avalanche as assistant coach. An 18-year NHL veteran, Tocchet played with six different teams including three seasons with the Coyotes from 1997 to 2000.
As a Coyote, Tocchet appeared in 213 regular season games and recorded 64-66-130 and 371 penalty minutes (PIM). He also played in 13 playoff games with Phoenix and collected 6-5-11 and 33 PIM. Tocchet scored 26 goals in back-to-back seasons with the Coyotes in 1997-98 and 1998-99. His best season as a Coyote came in 1998-99 when he registered 26-30-56 and 147 PIM in 81 games. Tocchet also led the Coyotes in goals and points in the 1998 playoff series against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings when he recorded 6 goals and 8 points in 6 games.
In 1,144 career NHL regular season games, Tocchet collected 440 goals, 512 assists, 952 points and 2,972 PIM with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington and Phoenix. He also played in 145 playoff games and racked up 52 goals, 60 assists, 112 points and 471 PIM. Tocchet was a Stanley Cup Champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992 and appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals with Philadelphia in 1987. He appeared in four NHL All-Star Games (1989, 1990, 1991 and 1993).
Tocchet is one of only two players (Pat Verbeek) in the history of the National Hockey League to eclipse both 400 goals and 2,500 penalty minutes. Entering 2005-06, Tocchet ranks 57th on the NHL's all-time goals list (440) and T-41st on the NHL's all-time playoff goals list (52). He also ranks 10th on the NHL's all-time penalty minutes list (2,972) and 4th on the NHL's all-time playoff penalty minutes list (471), trailing only Dale Hunter, Chris Nilan and Claude Lemieux.
Tocchet eclipsed the 20-goal barrier 11 times in his career, including two 30-goal and three 40-goal campaigns. His best offensive season came in 1992-93 when he set career highs with 48 goals, 61 assists and 109 points in 80 games with Pittsburgh.
He was originally drafted by Philadelphia in the 6th round (125th overall) of the 1983 Entry Draft out of Sault Ste. Marie (OHL). Tocchet began his NHL career with Philadelphia in 1984-85 and concluded his playing career with the Flyers in 2001-02. Midway through the following season, he joined the Avalanche as assistant coach on Jan. 15, 2003.
A native of Scarborough, Ontario, Tocchet represented Team Canada at the 1990 and 1991 World Championships and played for Team Canada in the 1987 and 1991 Canada Cup tournaments.
Smith spent 11 seasons as an associate coach with the Detroit Red Wings. 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. He primarily worked with the team's forwards in Detroit.
Smith, 54, 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.
He has found success at every level he has coached. In addition to his NHL success, Smith has won championships while coaching at the collegiate and international levels. Smith draws on his vast coaching experience from stops at the collegiate, international and NHL levels to instruct and motivate. Smith entered the coaching ranks in 1975 as head coach at Elmira (NY) College while earning a masters degree in education. His clubs won three Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference titles and twice went to the NCAA Division III Finals.
Moving to Europe, Smith coached in Sweden from 1981-84 and Norway from 1984-86, serving as an assistant on the Norwegian club in the World Championships. He also scouted European prospects for the Sabres. In March of 1986, he moved to Buffalo as Bowman's assistant. Smith worked one year under Bowman and remained in Buffalo until 1989, when he journeyed to Italy for one season to coach the Alleghe team and the Italian National Team. He joined the Penguins in 1990-91 as Johnson's assistant and was an aide to Johnson on Team USA in the 1991 Canada Cup.
The Buffalo native received a degree in physical education in 1972 from Ithaca (NY) College where he starred in hockey and football. He was elected to the school's Hall of Fame in 1992.
In the summer of 1996, Smith was selected to serve as an assistant coach for Team Sweden in the inaugural World Cup of Hockey. Later that season, Smith took a temporary leave from the Red Wings to assume the head coaching duties with Malmo of the Swedish Elite League, yet returned in time for Detroit's successful playoff run in the Spring of 1997. As a credit to his international reputation, Smith was selected to be an assistant coach for Sweden's national team at the 1998 Olympic Games held in Nagano, Japan.
Bowness enters his sixth season with the Coyotes organization and his 22nd season of coaching in professional hockey. Bowness has served as assistant coach for the Coyotes over the last five seasons and, he also served as head coach on an interim basis for the final two months of 2003-04. Having previously served as head coach with four NHL clubs, Bowness brings to the organization a wealth of experience and knowledge.
The 50-year-old Bowness joined the Coyotes after a three-year stint with the New York Islanders coaching staff. Prior to his coaching career, he played seven seasons (1975-82) in the NHL as a right wing with Atlanta, Detroit, St. Louis and Winnipeg. He played in 173 games, recording 18-37-55 and 191 penalty minutes. Bowness was originally drafted by the Atlanta Flames in the 2nd round (26th overall) of the 1975 Entry Draft.
Bowness began his career in coaching with the American Hockey League's Sherbrooke Jets as a player/coach during the 1982-83 season. He served the next four seasons (1983-84 to 1986-87) as an assistant coach for the Winnipeg Jets before returning to his hometown in 1987 as the coach and general manager of the Moncton Hawks, the Jets' AHL developmental team. In February 1989, Bowness had his first NHL head coaching stint when he took over as interim head coach of the Jets for the final 28 games (8-17-3) of the 1988-89 season.
The following season, Bowness joined the Boston Bruins organization, coaching the AHL's Maine Mariners for two seasons before assuming the head coaching duties for the Bruins in 1991-92. Bowness coached the Bruins to a 36-32-12 record in 1991-92, his best season as a head coach. In his only year with Boston, he led the Bruins to the Prince of Wales (Eastern Conference) Finals, losing 4-0 to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Bowness was then named the first head coach of the Ottawa Senators on June 15, 1992. In three and a half seasons (1992-93 to 1995-96) with the expansion franchise, Bowness finished with a record of 39-178-18. Despite the tough times, Bowness was highly regarded for his positive style and was credited for the development of many of the Senators' young stars. Bowness remained behind the Senators' bench until November 20, 1995, becoming only the second coach in NHL history to head an expansion team through its first three seasons.
The Moncton, New Brunswick native was then hired by the Islanders on December 30, 1995 and worked two seasons as an associate coach. Bowness took over the head coaching duties of the Islanders on January 23, 1997 and led the club to a 16-18-3 record. The following year, in his first full season as the Islanders' head coach, he guided the team to a 22-32-9 record in 63 games before being replaced on March 11, 1998. Bowness was instrumental in the development of many of the Islanders young players.