The Minnesota Wild announced Mike Yeo as its third head
coach in team history.
Yeo spent last season as the head coach of the Wild’s
American Hockey League affiliate, Houston Aeros.
He led the Aeros to the Calder Cup, where it fell to the
Binghamton 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’s
familiarity will smooth the transition.”
Prior to joining the Wild organization a year ago, he spent
five seasons as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We are going to be teammates,” “I don’t want it to be that
I am a coach and they are the players. We are going in there together. That is
the way we did it in Pittsburgh.”
The 37-year-old is the second consecutive first time NHL
head coach the Wild hired. Todd Richards, who was fired after two seasons, was
“It was a tremendous process,” Fletcher said. “I had the
opportunity to meet and talk to great hockey people. I learned a lot about our
team and people. The longer I watched Houston play it just became apparent that
Mike was the guy.”
This was a little bit of a surprise to me because of how
similar this hiring is to the Richards hire.
The similarities begin with their lack of NHL head coaching
experience (Many thought a recycled coach was going to be hired). They both
have a history with Fletcher. They both run similar systems (the six confirmed
interviewees included three with defense-oriented systems, two with unknown
systems and Yeo’s up-tempo, aggressive style). One of the reasons Yeo was hired
to coach Houston last summer was his “similar philosophy to our front office
and that of Todd Richards."
“In my opinion, Mike Yeo is the right fit for this team at
this time,” Fletcher said. “He has earned the respect of his players with his
honesty and his ability to get his players to buy in.”
Fletcher said that Rick Wilson will return as an assistant
coach. Also Bob Mason would return because he is more like an organization
person than an assistant coach. He said Mike Yeo would fill out the rest of the
Yeo is one of two candidates I endorsed during the process.