The Saskatoon Blades introduced Bob Woods as the Western Hockey League club’s new head coach and general manager on Monday.
Woods, a former player with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, comes to the Blades from the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks, where he was an assistant coach.
Woods has also been an assistant with the NHL’s Washington Capitals and prior to that he was the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears, guiding the team to the Calder Cup championship in 2009.
“I’m really excited to be given this opportunity to come home and lead the Blades into a great, new era,” the 46-year-old native of Leroy, Sask., said in a news release. “This is a wonderful time to come into this organization; there’s a solid foundation in place and the new leadership team is committed to the development of young men and the winning of championships.”
Woods played on the Wheat Kings’ blue-line from 1987-90, totalling 47 goals and 153 points in 140 games. He was drafted by the NHL’s New Jersey Devils after his first season in Brandon and went on to a 12-year playing career in the minors, then set out on a coaching career that took him from the East Coast Hockey League to the NHL.
In Saskatoon he takes over from Dave Struch and Lorne Molleken, who were removed from their head coach and GM positions, respectively, after the Blades went 16-51-2-3 last season to follow up their 2012-13 Memorial Cup host campaign. Last season the Blades were purchased by a new ownership group, led by Mike Priestner and managing partner Colin Priestner.
Blades broadcaster Les Lazaruk reported that Woods has signed a five-year deal with the team.
» Brandon Sun