Craig MacTavish (Eric Miller, Reuters Images)
After being in the hunt for coaching vacancies with the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild, Craig MacTavish has decided to coach in the American Hockey League in 2011-12 rather than return to the broadcast booth.
MacTavish will be the head coach of the Chicago Wolves, the primary farm team affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.
Ironically, with the movement of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, it has caused significant movement in the American Hockey League. The Chicago Wolves used to be the affiliate of the Thrashers, but are now affiliated with the Canucks. While the Manitoba Moose, formerly the Canucks’ affiliate, have moved to St. John’s Newfoundland and are the Jets’ affiliate.
Like the situation in Vancouver, where Abbotsford hosts the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate, it doesn’t make much sense that minor professional hockey fans in Chicago now have to cheer for a franchise affiliated with the Vancouver Canucks (currently one of Chicago’s top rivals) in their own city. If the NHL is trying to cut costs, why aren’t the Abbotsford Heat linked to the Canucks and Wolves linked to the Blackhawks?
Sorry for digressing.
MacTavish, who coached the Edmonton Oilers to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, obviously had coaching back in his blood, and should be a solid asset to young Canucks’ prospects in Chicago.