It is already well known that the Ontario Hockey League is the top producer of professional hockey players. Just look at the OHL Alumni Central Big List for evidence of this. Yet another tribute to the OHL as a developer to the hockey world is the fact that 10 of the current 30 head coaches in the National Hockey League played their junior hockey in the league. It really says a lot for the Windsor Spitfires organization that 4 of those 10 played for the Spits.
Of course, this is not just limited to the NHL. All professional hockey leagues in North America are well stocked with former Ontario Hockey League grads now standing behind the bench. For the next few Sundays, we’ll cover the rest of these leagues. For today – here are the ten from the NHL.
(as usual, the acronym OHL is all encompassing and includes when the league was referred to as the OHA and OMJHL)
Randy Carlyle – Anaheim Ducks. Randy played three seasons in the OHL from 1973-74 to 1975-76, all with the Sudbury Wolves.
Craig Ramsay – Atlanta Thrashers. Craig played four seasons in the OHL from 1967-68 to 1970-71, all with the Peterborough Petes.
Claude Julien – Boston Bruins. Claude played four seasons in the OHL from 1977-78 to 1980-81. Julien’s OHL career was split between the Oshawa Generals and the Windsor Spitfires.
Paul Maurice – Carolina Hurricanes. Paul played four seasons in the OHL from 1984-85 to 1987-88, all with the Windsor Spitfires.
Joel Quenneville – Chicago Blackhawks. Joe played three seasons in the OHL from 1975-76 to 1977-78, all with the Windsor Spitfires.
Scott Arniel – Columbus Blue Jackets. Scott played one season in the OHL, 1981-82, with the Cornwall Royals. Scott played the two previous seasons with the Royals as well but they were in the Quebec league until the 81-82 season.
Peter DeBoer – Florida Panthers. Peter played four seasons in the OHL from 1985-86 to 1988-89, all with the Windsor Spitfires.
Terry Murray – Los Angeles Kings. Terry played three seasons in the OHL from 1967-68 to 1969-70, all with the Ottawa 67’s.
John MacLean – New Jersey Devils. John played three seasons in the OHL from 1981-82 to 1983-84, all with the Oshawa Generals.
Bruce Boudreau – Washington Capitals. Bruce played three seasons in the OHL from 1972-73 to 1974-75, all with the Toronto Marlboros.
These are ten teams that are having decent seasons so far, so these jobs should be fairly safe. My prediction for the eleventh OHL grad to become an NHL coach is a fella with the Frontenacs that played for the Cornwall Royals. Two of his former teams might be looking for a new coach soon…