Doug Lidster didn’t play a lot when he was with the Dallas Stars during the 1998-99 season, but it was a productive time on a couple of fronts.
“Not only was it a great opportunity to be on a Stanley Cup team, but it was a great opportunity, as a young guy who wanted to be a coach, to learn because Ken Hitchcock was there,” Lidster said. “I was on the inside, but I wasn’t a full-time player. Sometimes as a player, you wonder about a coach’s method, but in this case, I could sit back and understand there was a method to the madness.”
That experience with Hitchcock came as Lidster was already making the transition to coaching. Under the belief that he had retired from the NHL after the 1997-98 season, Lidster took a job as a player-coach with the Canadian National Team. But the Stars came calling in February of 1999, looking to add some of that all-important defensive depth for their Stanley Cup run.
“I got a call from Bob Gainey that season, he said ‘we need an extra body down here,’” Lidster said. “So I went to Dallas and it was a great opportunity.”
And now Lidster is back with the Dallas organization with a new opportunity. He’s in his first season as assistant coach of the Texas Stars, and he’ll play a key role in helping develop Dallas’ stable of young defense prospects.
“We have a good group of young defensemen and Doug has to work to install some good habits in them,” said Texas head coach Willie Desjardins. “He’s a smart man and he likes the players too, which I think is a good combination. He’s won a couple of Stanley Cups. That certainly helps.”
Lidster brings a lot of experience to the table. He played 16 seasons in the NHL with Vancouver, New York Rangers, St. Louis and Dallas. He suited up for 897 games and won Stanley Cups with the New York Rangers (1994) and Dallas Stars (1999).
“He’s won Cups, has NHL experience and he is only going to help our D, especially down there,” said Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “He’s a quality person and he has loads of experience playing the game.”
And he has a history with Desjardins. The two first met during that 1998-99 season when both were with the Canadian National Team, Lidster was a player-coach and Desjardins an assistant coach. Lidster was an assistant to Desjardins with Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League in 2002-03.
“He and Willie have a connection, and Willie is comfortable with him,” said Nieuwendyk.
Lidster’s been a head coach in the Ontario Hockey League, served as an assistant coach with Canada's women's national hockey team and has spent the last six years as a coaching director for a youth hockey program in Michigan.