Hunt is reuniting with Senators head coach Craig Hartsburg, with whom he worked as an assistant coach for Canada’s gold-medal-winning world junior teams in 2006 and 2007.
The 41-year-old recently completed his fourth consecutive season as head coach of the the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats, posting a 44-22-6 regular-season record and finishing first in the WHL’s Eastern Conference for the first time since the 1997-98 season. The Pats fell to the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL Eastern Conference quarter-final in six games.
Hunt led the Pats to a 132-127-11-18 mark and finished above .500 in three of his four seasons. After winning 12 games his first year, the team rebounded to win 40 games in his second season behind the bench and averaged 40 wins over the last three.
Prior to joining Regina, he spent three full seasons as the head coach of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, where he led the team to its first 40-win season and was named runner-up for the WHL coach of the year in 2003-04. Hunt began his career as an assistant with the International Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins, where he coached for four years.
In addition to his two world junior golds with Hartsburg in 2006 and 2007, Hunt served as an assistant coach for Canada’s gold-medal national under-18 team at the 2005 Junior World Cup in Slovakia/Czech Republic, the Canadian silver medalists at the 2005 IIHF world under-18 championship in the Czech Republic and Canada’s National under-18 summer team at the 2003 Junior World Cup in the Czech Republic.
Hunt was drafted in the ninth round, 172nd overall, by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1985 NHL entry draft. In nine professional seasons, the defenceman recorded 31 goals and 142 assists for 173 points in 527 career games between the IHL and the American Hockey League.
Hunt and his wife, Kimberley, have two sons – Dustin, 13, and Ryan, 10.