Anaheim Head Coach Search: Dale Hunter

Photo: Kevin Dietsch, UPI

Photo: Kevin Dietsch, UPI

By Michael Walters

According to TSN’s Frank Seravalli, the Anaheim Ducks may be interested in Dale Hunter as head coach. Dale Hunter is the co-owner and head coach of the London Knights, which is a junior hockey team from London, Ontario, Canada, that plays in the Ontario Hockey League. He led his team to the Memorial Cup by beating the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL in overtime this past Sunday.

Hunter has coached the London Knights since the 2001-02 season. After his first season, he has had a winning record each year. The London Knights have only missed the playoffs three times since the 2001-02 season. Hunter led them to the Memorial Cup this season and in the 2005-06 season. He did leave the London Knights during the 2011-12 season to coach the Washington Capitals after Bruce Boudreau was fired. The Capitals made the playoffs that year and defeated the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins in the first round, but then were knocked out in the second round. He returned in the 2012-13 season to coach the London Knights and has done so since then.

Analysis

Hunter could be a good fit in Anaheim. His record with the London Knights is 641-254-65(T & OTLs). He was a no-nonsense type of player and emphasizes tight checking, hard work, and effort. He started his NHL career in 1980 with the Quebec Nordiques. He then played with the Washington Capitals from the 1987-88 season through part of the 1998-99 season. He finished that season with the Colorado Avalanche before retiring after 19 seasons. He played center and had 235 career NHL fights and 9 OHL fights.

Hunter believes that hard work and a commitment to team defense are key, especially in the playoffs even without home-ice advantage. When he was with Washington, he challenged the star players including Alex Ovechkin. Hunter limited Ovechkin to 14 minutes of ice time in one playoff game in 2011-12 postseason. He believes star players need to play a team game more instead of focusing on their individual styles of play. Hunter holds star players accountable, which is what Anaheim needs in their next coach. He also coached Corey Perry when he played for the Knights. The only question remaining is whether or not Hunter wants to try coaching again in the NHL.

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