Breaking: Seattle expansion group hires legendary NHL coach

So much for those Islanders rumors! Seattle may not have a team yet, but they at least have a killer coach!

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The moment former NHL head coach Dave Tippett parted ways with the Arizona Coyotes last summer, you just KNEW that he’d resurface sooner or later. The Jack Adams Trophy winning coach has over 1,100 NHL games under his belt as a head coach and a further 700+ as an NHL player. If there was a man who defined the term “Hockey Man”, it’s Dave Tippett. The 56 year old native of Moosomin, Saskatchewan is a hockey lifer and has rarely been away from an NHL rink since first joining the league with the old Hartford Whalers back in 1982-83.

Surprise, surprise, Tippett’s back. Well… kinda. 

The Tod Leiweke run Oak View Group, the group behind Seattle’s NHL expansion bid, has officially hired Tippett as a senior advisor with the expectation that he’ll become the team’s eventual head coach. This according to a report from the Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker:

The city of Seattle may not have an NHL franchise yet, or an NHL building for that matter, but that hasn’t prevented the potential franchise from acquiring some top tier front office talent. For now, Tippett will be tasked with overseeing “the development of all aspects of the organization, including the construction of a training facility and securing an American Hockey League affiliate franchise”, according to Baker’s report.

“There are a lot of times where you need somebody with some hockey experience, whether it be infrastructure like the dressing rooms, the training facilities, or putting together the groundwork of what a skeleton hockey staff would look like,’’ Tippett said to media following the announcement.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t Tippet’s first kick at helping to run an expansion franchise. During the mid 1990s Tippett was head coach and general manager of the expansion Houston Aeros of the fledgling International Hockey League. He moulded that team in his image and ended up claiming an IHL championship in just five seasons. Pretty impressive.

“First and foremost, operationally, you have to set the culture of the organization,’’ said when comparing his time with the Aeros to his new job in Seattle. “There are a lot of key things, like where the infrastructure of the team is going to be and figuring out the market. But the ability to define the culture of a team that can really grow and prosper, that’s first and foremost.”

Tippett had been rumored to be a potential replacement for the New York Islanders’ vacant head coaching position before his hiring by the Oak View Group. Islanders coach Doug Weight was relieved of his duties by new GM Lou Lamoriello earlier this month.