Cliff Fletcher, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Tuesday that Tim Hunter and Rob Zettler have been named assistant coaches. Hunter and Zettler will join Keith Acton on Ron Wilson’s coaching staff.
“Tim and Rob bring winning experience to the Maple Leafs coaching staff,” said general manager Cliff Fletcher. “Their familiarity with Ron’s coaching style, along with their previous success in San Jose, will allow them to quickly bring in a structured system for our players to work within.”
Hunter and Zettler worked together the past five seasons with Wilson in San Jose. In 2007-08, under the guidance of Wilson, Hunter and Zettler, the Sharks were very strong defensively, ranking first in NHL penalty killing (85.8%) and third in goals against average (2.28). San Jose finished second overall last season in the NHL with 108 points on a record of 49-23-10.
Wilson, Hunter and Zettler are among the most technologically advanced coaches in the NHL, as they utilize a laptop on the bench for replays and a tablet personnel computer for real time statistics. As well, they utilize a SMART Board “digital chalkboard” in the dressing room, which has streaming and telestrator capabilities.
Prior to joining the Sharks, the 47-year-old Hunter spent five seasons (1997-02) as an assistant coach under Wilson with the Washington Capitals. As a player Hunter played 16 seasons in the NHL for Calgary, Quebec, Vancouver and San Jose. He won a Stanley Cup in 1989 when he was a member of the Calgary Flames. In 815 career NHL games the Calgary native tallied 62 goals and 76 assists for 138 points, along with 3,142 penalty minutes. He ranks eighth in all-time career NHL penalty minutes and still holds the Flames’ all-time franchise record with 2,405 minutes in penalties. He was originally selected by Cliff Fletcher and the Atlanta Flames, 54th overall in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft.
Zettler, a 40-year-old native of Sept-Iles, Quebec, spent parts of the final three years of his career playing for Wilson and Hunter in Washington, prior to joining San Jose as an assistant coach in 2002. He played 14 seasons in the NHL for Minnesota, San Jose, Philadelphia, Toronto, Nashville and Washington, playing in 569 games collecting 70 points (five goals, 65 assists) with 922 penalty minutes. For three seasons, from 1995-96 to 1997-98, he played in 136 games for the Maple Leafs registering two goals and 20 assists for 22 points and 207 penalty minutes.