Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has appointed Derek Laxdal as the fourth head coach in Texas Stars franchise history. He succeeds Willie Desjardins, who served as head coach for Texas from 2012-13 to 2013-14, Jeff Pyle (2011-12) and Glen Gulutzan (2009-10 to 2010-11).
"Derek has a proven track record of developing young players to get the most out of them in a winning environment," said Nill. "His proven leadership, familiarity with our organization and tremendous character make him a great fit with our culture. We are very excited to welcome him to the Texas Stars."
Laxdal, 48, just concluded his fourth season as head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League (WHL). During the 2013-14 regular season, Edmonton posted the top record in the Eastern Conference with a 50-19-3 record. Under Laxdal's guidance, the team claimed the Ed Chynoweth Cup as the playoff champions of the WHL, their second under his leadership after also claiming the Cup in 2012. In his four seasons as Edmonton's head coach, he led the team to three, 50-win campaigns and an overall record of 182-83-23.
Prior to his stint with Edmonton, Laxdal served as head coach for Dallas' ECHL affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads, for five seasons, posting 40-win seasons each campaign and an overall 219-108-35 regular season record. He also helped the team qualify for the playoffs each season, made two ECHL Final appearances, and in 2007, won the Kelly Cup as the victor of the ECHL championship.
The native of Stonewall, Manitoba began his head coaching career with the Wichita Thunder in the CHL. He spent three seasons in Wichita from 2002-03 to 2004-05 where he led the team to playoff appearances two times, compiling an 87-58-8 regular-season record as their head coach.
In total, Laxdal's teams have qualified for the playoffs in 11 of 12 seasons, posted a .600 points percentage nine times, advanced to the league final five times, and won three championships in two different leagues.
Laxdal was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the eighth round (151st overall) of the 1984 NHL Draft and played parts of six seasons with Toronto and the New York Islanders, compiling 19 points (12-7=19) in 67 career NHL contests.