Co-Founder and Program Advisor
Willie Desjardins became the 18th Head Coach in Vancouver Canucks history on June 23, 2014 and he begins his second season in that role. In his first season behind an NHL bench, Desjardins led the team to a 48-29-5 record (101 points) en route to the second-highest point total in the Pacific division. The 2014.15 season marked the fifth highest win total in franchise history. Before joining the Canucks, Desjardins served as Head Coach of the Texas Stars for two seasons compiling a 91-40-21 (.667) regular season record in 152 AHL games. He was awarded the Louis A. R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s Coach of the Year in 2013, his first season with Texas. Desjardin’s second season with Texas produced a regular season record of 48-18-10 (.697) and a 15-6 playoff record culminating in the Stars first Calder Cup Championship.
From 2002 to 2010 Desjardins was Head Coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL adding the role of General Manager in 2005. Desjardins twice led the Tigers to Western Hockey League championships winning the President’s Cup in the 2003.04 and 2006.07 seasons. In two Memorial Cup berths Desjardins’ Tigers advanced to the Finals once in 2007. Desjardins was awarded the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Coach of the Year for the 2005-06 season. He was also honoured by the Canadian Hockey League and presented with the Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award that same season.
Internationally, Desjardins has represented Canada as Head Coach in 2010 (silver) and Assistant Coach in 2009 (gold) at the World Junior Championships. He was Assistant Coach for the Canadian national men’s team when Canada finished fourth at the at the 1999 IIHF World Championship in Norway. Desjardins played major junior hockey for the Lethbridge Broncos of the Western Hockey League from 1974 through 1977. He won the 1982-83 Major W.J. “Danny” McLeod Award as the University Cup Tournament MVP, selected by members of the CIS Men’s Hockey Coaches Association.
Desjardins has committed a lifetime to the development of young hockey players. He holds a Bachelor of Education (Bed) and a Master of Social Work (MSW).