NHL coach Glen Hanlon to lead Jokerit next season
Finnish ice hockey league side Helsinki Jokerit will have a Canadian coach next season just like at present, but it will not be Doug Shedden. The club has hired the services of Canadian Glen Hanlon for the 2008/09 season.
Hanlon, 50, was coaching the Washington Capitals in the NHL until November, when the club fired him after almost nine years in the job.
Jokerit were attempting to reach a deal with Shedden until the last minute, but their paths diverged.
Shedden will be heading next season to Switzerland, as he would not agree to the so-called "NHL clause" in his contract, which states that any bonds between club and coach could not be broken even if the most attractive of job offers came in from the NHL.
Right now Doug Shedden is dividing his time between Jokerit and the duties of head coach for the Finnish national side at the upcoming World Championships in Canada. A good performance there by the Finns might well open some NHL doors to their coach.
Glen Hanlon was in Helsinki last weekend, on his way back from Minsk, where he had been coaching the Belarus national side in preparation for the World Championships.
He claims he loves international ice hockey and that this is one reason for wanting to come to Finland, and that it was not a money matter so much as an an appreciation of Finnish playing styles.
Washington and Hanlon had a five-year contract, but it came to a premature end in November when fans at the Verizon Center started calling for his removal.
He has a career in the NHL dating back thirty years to when he was a goaltender with the Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, and Detroit Red Wings (where he coincidentally played alongside Doug Shedden). He retired from the game in 1991.
Hanlon was initially an assistant head coach, working with the Canucks from 1995-99, before he took a full coaching post with the Portland Pirates in the AHL, and then joined the Washington Capitals. In 2003 he was asked to step up from assistant coach and pilot the Capitals.
Hanlon, who has signed a one-year contract with Jokerit but has announced his willingness for a longer stay, will be moving to Helsinki with his wife and six-year-old son.
Helsinki Jokerit are one of three teams from the Greater Helsinki area playing in the top Finnish league.
Right now they are third in the table as the play-offs approach, behind leaders Kärpät from Oulu and 2nd-placed Espoo Blues. Jokerit's Helsinki rivals HIFK are currently in 7th place.
Glen Hanlon (Wikipedia)
Helsinki Jokerit (Wikipedia)
Jokerit website (mostly in Finnish)