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First-ever Abbotsford Canucks head coach fired by Vancouver

Trent Cull had been serving as assistant coach in Vancouver this season
The Abbotsford Canucks first-ever head coach Trent Cull has been fired by the Vancouver Canucks. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

The first-ever head coach of the Abbotsford Canucks has been fired from his role as assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks.

The National Hockey League club announced on Sunday (Jan. 22) morning in a press release that Trent Cull and head coach Bruce Boudreau were both relieved of their duties.

“We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Bruce and Trent for their contributions to this organization,” stated Vancouver general manager Patrik Allvin. “We appreciate their dedication and wish them nothing but the best moving forward. This was not an easy decision to make, but one that we felt was necessary for this franchise.”

RELATED: Abbotsford Canucks head coach Trent Cull reflects on inaugural season

Cull’s fellow assistant coaches Mike Yeo and Jason King will remain on the staff.

Replacing Boudreau and Cull will be Rick Tocchet (head coach) Adam Foote (defensive coach) and Sergei Gonchar (defensive development coach). Tocchet is the 21st head coach in team history.

Cull led Abbotsford to a record of 39-23-0-5 in 2021-22, good for fifth in the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division. The club was then eliminated in two games in the qualifying round. He had previously been the head coach of the Canucks affiliate in Utica from 2017-18 to 2020-21. He had also spent two stints as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.

He was promoted as assistant coach to Vancouver last summer.

RELATED: Bruce, there he goes: Struggling Canucks fire head coach Boudreau, hire Tocchet

The 58-year-old Tocchet most recently served as the head coach of the Arizona Coyotes from 2017-18 to 2020-21. He was also a head coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning from in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. He has a career record of 125-131-34 as a head coach. He was also an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Avalanche.

As a player, Tocchet collected 952 points in 1,144 games and won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Penguins in 1992. He also suited up for the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, and Phoenix Coyotes.

The 51-year-old Foote most recently served as head coach of the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League over parts of two seasons (2018-19 to 2019-20). He was also a defensive consultant with the Avalanche for four seasons.

Foote played 1,151 NHL games with the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, and Columbus Blue Jackets. He won Stanley Cups with Colorado in 1996 and 2001.

Gonchar was an assistant coach with the Russian national team for the past two seasons. He was also previously an assistant coach and defenceman development coach with the Penguins.

The 48-year-old played 1,301 NHL games between the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars, and Montreal Canadiens. He collected 801 points and won the Stanley Cup in 2009 with Pittsburgh.

The trio will make their debuts behind the bench with Vancouver on Tuesday (Jan. 24) vs. the Chicago Blackhawks.

“Rick Tocchet brings a wealth of knowledge to this team from both a coach and player perspective,” stated Allvin. “He has had more than two decades of coaching experience, guiding teams of various styles. As a player, he displayed a high level of character, grit and intensity, while recording impressive offensive numbers.

“We are also excited about the additions of Adam Foote and Sergei Gonchar to our coaching staff. Both individuals enjoyed long, successful playing careers as NHL defencemen and together provide a wide range of expertise on both sides of the puck. Tocchet, Foote, and Gonchar all bring a championship pedigree to the organization and we look forward to welcoming them to Vancouver.”

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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