TAMPA BAY – Barry Melrose has been named thesixth head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, it was announced by owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie.
“We are very pleased that Barry signed on to become the next head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning,” Barrie and Koules said in a joint statement. “We believe Barry offers just what this team needs and it starts with his ability to get all 20 players pushing in the same direction and playing at 100 percent night-in, night out. We like his enthusiasm and passion for the game and we know the fans of Tampa Bay will take a liking to him.”
A winner at every level he has coached, Melrose spent three seasons (1992-95) as the head coach in Los Angeles, leading the Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 1993. Melrose, 51, began his coaching career in 1987 when he led the Western Hockey League’s Medicine Hat Tigers to a 44-22-6 record and the Memorial Cup title.
Known for his no-nonsense approach and ability to develop young players, he also coached the Seattle Thunderbirds for the 1988-89 season and the Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League for three seasons (1989-92). Melrose guided the Red Wings to the Calder Cup championship in 1991. He also served as the team’s general manager during his final two seasons.
“I’m obviously excited to be back in coaching,” Melrose said. “I’m especially looking forward to the opportunity to work with great players such as Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis and Steven Stamkos
; they’re all such talented and exciting athletes. Most of all, I have missed having a dog in the fight each season, especially at the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.”
During his 11 years as a player, Melrose played 300 career games as a defenseman in the NHL with Winnipeg, Toronto and Detroit (1979-86), recording 10 goals, 23 assists and 728 penalty minutes. He skated in seven Stanley Cup playoff games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, assisting on two goals and recording 38 penalty minutes. He also played three seasons with Cincinnati in the WHA (1976-79).
Melrose most recently served as NHL studio analyst for ESPN and ESPN2. Melrose appeared regularly on ESPN2’s NHL 2Night, the network’s NHL news and highlights program. He also provided reports for SportsCenter, appeared on ESPN Radio and was a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine. From 1996 to 2002, Melrose also called regular-season and playoff games for ESPN and ABC Sports (2000-02). From 2003 to 2004, he provided studio analysis for ABC Sports’ NHL telecasts.
In January 2004, Melrose became part owner of the Adirondack Frostbite of the United Hockey League. Born July 15, 1956 in Kelvington, Saskatchewan, Melrose was sworn in as a U.S. citizen in 1998.