Flyers make Tortorella coaching hire official

Flyers head coach John Tortorella.

There’s a new sheriff in town and the Flyers hope things are going to start changing around here.

On Friday morning they confirmed the hiring of veteran coach John Tortorella as their new bench boss, a move which had been speculated about for at least several days.

Tortorella, 63, becomes the 23rd head coach in team history.

He is best known for his fiery coaching style and getting the most out of his players.

The Flyers have scheduled a 1 p.m. press conference to formally introduce Tortorella to Philadelphia.

General manager Chuck Fletcher believes Tortorella can get the Flyers back on track after missing the playoffs the past two seasons.

Tortorella indicated he looks forward to the challenge.

“I am very excited to be joining such a historic and well-respected franchise like the Philadelphia Flyers,” said Tortorella in a statement released by the Flyers’ public relations department. “From my very first conversation with Chuck, I knew this was the right fit for me and I believe in the direction this team is heading. Having faced the Flyers for several years, I know firsthand how tough of a city Philly is to play in and I look forward to being on the right side of the bench on opening night in front of such a loyal and passionate crowd of Flyers fans.”

Tortorella and Barry Trotz were the leading candidates for the position left vacant by the dismissal of interim head coach Mike Yeo at the conclusion of this past season.

“I am very happy to bring in John to be the next head coach and voice behind the bench of the Flyers,” said Fletcher. “John demands the best out of his players every single game. He is a Stanley Cup Champion and has a lengthy track record of both regular season and playoff success. During the interview process we discussed a number of factors that are crucial to bring this team immediate success and it became clear to me that his vision and style makes him the right person to restore a winning environment to our locker room.”

Flyers governor Dave Scott expressed similar sentiments.

“This is a critical moment for our franchise, and Chuck has made a strong selection in John Tortorella as the next coach of the Philadelphia Flyers,” said Scott. “John embodies the values of this franchise and city – hard work, grit, and determination – and I’m excited for him to get to work with our team right away.”

Tortorella has been an NHL head coach for parts of 20 seasons and has a career record of 673-541-37-132 in 1,383 regular season games with the Tampa Bay Lightning (2000-08), New York Rangers (1999-2000, 2008-13), Vancouver Canucks (2013-14) and Columbus Blue Jackets (2015-21).

He has led his team to a division title on three occasions (2002-03, 2003-04 & 2011-12) and has a career record of 56-64 in 120 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He has also led his team to the Conference Final on two occasions (2003-04 and 2011-12).

In 2004, he led the Tampa Bay Lightning to their first Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history after going 16-7 in the postseason and defeating the Calgary Flames 4 games to 3 in the Stanley Cup Final.

During his career, Tortorella has been named a finalist for the NHL’s Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year four times (2002-03, 2003-04, 2011-12 & 2016-17). He won the Award in 2003-04 with Tampa Bay after he guided them to a 46-22-8-6 record for 106 points, and again in 2016-17 when he led Columbus to a 50-win season with a 50-24-8 record for 108 points, which finished fourth in the NHL. He is one of four head coaches in NHL history who has won the award with two teams.

A native of Boston, Mass., Tortorella ranks second all-time among U.S.-born coaches with his 673 wins, which is also 13th all-time in NHL history. He was the first U.S.-born coach to 500 regular season wins.

Tortorella was most recently the head coach of the Blue Jackets for six seasons, where he posted a 227-166-54 record. He is the all-time leader in Blue Jackets history in games (447) and wins (227). He spent the 2021-22 season as an analyst for ESPN broadcasts.

Internationally, he served as head coach for USA Hockey at the 2008 IIHF World Championships and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

He has also been an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team that earned a silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, and an associate coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2005 IIHF Men’s World Championship in Vienna and Innsbruck, Austria.

In addition to his head coaching experience, Tortorella was an assistant coach with the Rangers (1999-00), Phoenix Coyotes (1997-99) and the Buffalo Sabres (1989-95).

Tortorella has also had success at the American Hockey League and Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL), winning the league championships with the Rochester Americans (AHL) in the 1995-96 season and the Virginia Lancers (ACHL) in the 1986-87 campaign.

About Wayne Fish 1760 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.