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Coach Trotz To Join Elite Club

by Sarah Ryan / Nashville Predators
Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz is slated to coach his 750th career game tonight at Vancouver, making him the 31st coach in NHL history to attain the mark, and only the 10th bench boss to coach 750 games behind the bench of a single team. Entering tonight’s game, he has an all-time record of 329-312-107, and sits 11th in victories behind the bench of a single team.

Most Games Coached, 1 Team
Coach, Team Games
Al Arbour, NYI 1,500
Billy Reay, CHI 1,012
Jack Adams, DET 964
Toe Blake, MTL 914
Dick Irvin, MTL 896
Glen Sather, EDM 842
Sid Abel, DET 811
Lindy Ruff, BUF 810
Punch Imlach, TOR 770
Barry Trotz, NSH 749

*as of games played on Nov. 3, 2008
Bold Italics denotes coaches actively with current team

Though Trotz may have seemed like an unlikely candidate for the NHL’s newest expansion team back in 1997—having no NHL experience as a coach or player—General Manager of Hockey Operations David Poile had known Trotz for years and watched him grow from a player, to a scout, and eventually into an AHL championship-winning coach with the Portland Pirates – the AHL affiliate for the Washington Capitals while Poile was the Caps GM.

Though his peers recommended he hire someone with as much experience as he could find, Poile went with his gut and did exactly the opposite—citing that an expansion situation was an opportunity to give not only new players a chance but also new scouts and coaches as well.

That decision turned out to be a long-standing one.

On March 1, 2003, Trotz coached his 392nd game with the Nashville Predators, establishing a league record for most games coached by an expansion team’s original coach. In doing so, he surpassed the record formerly held by Predators color commentator, Terry Crisp—who coached 391 games as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first coach. A record Trotz has now nearly doubled.

One of the main reasons Trotz has lasted so long seems to have much to do with his character.

“There are a lot of good coaches in the NHL and we just happen to have one of them,” said Poile of Trotz. “When you are putting a team together you are looking for characteristics and personality that fit how you want to run the team. Barry’s personality is what I like in a coach. He has good character, work ethic, knowledge—all of that has been a good fit for me not only for the last ten years but for the last 20.”

The media, as well as his peers, also seem to have noticed Trotz’s positive attributes; in 2007 Trotz earned fourth place in balloting (by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association) for the Jack Adams Award—given to the NHL coach deemed to have contributed the most to his team’s success – and was selected as the NHL’s Coach of the Year by Sporting News, an award voted on by his peers. He was also the assistant coach for the Western Conference All-Stars at the 2007 NHL All-Star game and has twice been tabbed as an Assistant Coach for Team Canada at the World Championships.

“Barry treats people the same all the time—whether you are a friend or a hockey player,” said Poile. “He’s as honest as the day is long and he is considered a player’s coach. He has that good balance of humanity yet still being able to get the players respect.”

The first and foremost thing about Barry Trotz is that he is a good, solid person. You want to be his friend because he treats everyone the right way. We couldn’t have gotten a better person to start the franchise as Barry.”

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