The Minnesota Wild announced Mike Yeo as its third headcoach in team history.
Yeo spent last season as the head coach of the Wild’sAmerican Hockey League affiliate, Houston Aeros.
He led the Aeros to the Calder Cup, where it fell to theBinghamton Senators in six games.
“It is accurate to say that it was included in my decision,”Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said during the press conference to introduce Yeo. “Mike’sfamiliarity will smooth the transition.”
Prior to joining the Wild organization a year ago, he spentfive seasons as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We are going to be teammates,” “I don’t want it to be thatI am a coach and they are the players. We are going in there together. That isthe way we did it in Pittsburgh.”
The 37-year-old is the second consecutive first time NHLhead coach the Wild hired. Todd Richards, who was fired after two seasons, wasthe first.
“It was a tremendous process,” Fletcher said. “I had theopportunity to meet and talk to great hockey people. I learned a lot about ourteam and people. The longer I watched Houston play it just became apparent thatMike was the guy.”
This was a little bit of a surprise to me because of howsimilar this hiring is to the Richards hire.
The similarities begin with their lack of NHL head coachingexperience (Many thought a recycled coach was going to be hired). They bothhave a history with Fletcher. They both run similar systems (the six confirmedinterviewees included three with defense-oriented systems, two with unknownsystems and Yeo’s up-tempo, aggressive style). One of the reasons Yeo was hiredto coach Houston last summer was his “similar philosophy to our front officeand that of Todd Richards."
“In my opinion, Mike Yeo is the right fit for this team atthis time,” Fletcher said. “He has earned the respect of his players with hishonesty and his ability to get his players to buy in.”
Fletcher said that Rick Wilson will return as an assistantcoach. Also Bob Mason would return because he is more like an organizationperson than an assistant coach. He said Mike Yeo would fill out the rest of thecoaching staff.
Yeo is one of two candidates I endorsed during the process.