The Texas Stars received good news yesterday with the announcement of head coach Willie Desjardins being awarded the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach of the year for the 2012-13 season. The award was voted on by other AHL coaches and members of the media for all 30 teams.
Desjardins is enjoying his first season as a head coach at the professional level. He was hired in June by the Stars after Jeff Pyle was fired last April when the Stars failed to make the playoffs. Under Desjardins, the Stars have clinched first in the South Division for the first time in club history, and are on their way to clinch first place overall in the Western Conference.
Prior to coaching the Stars, Desjardins had served two seasons as the associate coach of the Dallas Stars, and had been head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League from 2002-2010, leading them to the championship in 2004 and 2007. He was also named the WHL Coach of the Year in 2005-06. Desjardins was also head coach for Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in 2010 when the Canadians had their 5-year champion record snapped by the Americans.
Desjardin has seen 15 Texas players called up to their NHL affiliate Dallas Stars this season, including Matt Fraser, Alex Chiasson, Reilly Smith, Jamie Oleksiak, and Jordie Benn. In total, Texas Stars teammates have played a total of 251 man games with the Stars.
The Stars have found much success on the road this season. Desjardin has coached the team to a league-leading 24 road wins – tied for most in the AHL. The Club is also tied for third in the league with most goals scored at 229.
Also, under Desjardin’s coaching, forward Matt Fraser has been named to the Second Team AHL All-Star team. Fraser has 33 goals and 13 assists in 62 games this season for Texas.
The real question remains as to whether or not Desjardins can carry his team to glory. The 2012-13 regular season ends Sunday, as the Texas Stars will battle it out among the other 15 clubs in an attempt to bring home the Calder Cup for the first time in club history.
@AdamReid_ / @ahlwriters