The National Hockey League is, without a doubt, the greatest level of elite hockey league in the world. The Ontario Hockey League is considered by many to be the number one developmental league producing high calibre talent for the NHL.
However, it’s not just players that the OHL is bringing to the NHL. Presently, there are ten different head coaches in the NHL that did not necessarily coach in the OHL but played their junior hockey there.
With thirty teams in the NHL, the ten coaches that played junior hockey in the OHL account for 33% of the league’s bench bosses. Not only that, the teams they coach are among the best in the league.
Randy Carlyle is the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks and has been since 2005. Carlyle played for the Sudbury Wolves for three seasons from 1973-74 to 1975-76. Randy was an OHL second team all-star in his final season with Sudbury as he contributed 79 points in 60 games from the blue line. He went on to a seventeen year career as a player in the NHL, winning the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 1980-81. Carlyle won the ultimate prize as a coach in 2006-07 as the Ducks won the Stanley Cup.
Craig Ramsay is in his first year as the head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers. Ramsay played four seasons in the OHL from 1967-68 to 1970-71, all with the Peterborough Petes. In his final season in Peterborough he racked up 106 points in 58 games. He went on to play fourteen seasons in the NHL, all with the Buffalo Sabres. He won the Selke Trophy in 1984-85.
Claude Julien is a graduate of the Oshawa Generals and the Windsor Spitfires. Julien played four seasons in the OHL from 1977-78 to 1980-81. He is currently in his fourth year as head coach of the Boston Bruins. Claude played a total of fourteen games in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques. He was coach of the year in the American Hockey League for the 2003-04 season and won the Jack Adams Award as the top NHL coach for the 2008-09 season.
Paul Maurice is the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. Paul played for the Windsor Spitfires for four seasons from 1984-85 to 1987-88.
The coach of the current reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, is Joel Quenneville. Joel played three seasons with the Windsor Spitfires from 1975-76 to 1977-78. In his final seasons with Windsor, Quenneville contributed 103 points in 66 games as a defenseman. He went on to a thirteen year NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Rockies, New Jersey Devils, Hartford Whalers and Washington Capitals. Joel was the Jack Adams award winner for the 1999-00 season.
Scott Arniel is the current coach of the surging Columbus Blue Jackets and is in his first season at the position. Scott played one season in the OHL in 1981-82 with the Cornwall Royals. However, he played the previous two seasons with the Royals as well but the team was in the QMJHL (Quebec). Arniel played parts of eleven seasons in the NHL.
Peter DeBoer is not only a playing graduate of the OHL but is also one of the most successful coaches in league history. The third year coach of the Florida Panthers is a two-time Matt Leyden Award winner as OHL coach of the year and led the Kitchener Rangers to a Memorial Cup victory in 2003. Peter played four seasons with the Windsor Spitfires from 1985-86 to 1988-89.
Terry Murray is in his third year as the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings but is in his 24th year of coaching (either as an assistant or head coach) in the NHL. Murray played three seasons with the Ottawa 67’s from 1967-68 to 1969-70. In all, he played 302 regular season NHL games with the California Golden Seals, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals.
John MacLean played three seasons with the Oshawa General from 1981-82 to 1983-84. He was a sixth overall draft pick of the New Jersey Devils in the 1983 draft and has had a close relationship with the team for most of the time since. MacLean played parts of nineteen seasons in the NHL, fourteen in a Devils Jersey. This is his first season as head coach in New Jersey but John has already spent six seasons behind the Devils bench as an assistant coach.
Bruce Boudreau has the most expectations on his shoulders of any of the NHL coaches this season. The head coach of the Washington Capitals has to do nothing less than win a Stanley Cup in 2010-11 to please the Washington fans. Boudreau played three seasons in the OHL with the Toronto Marlboros from 1972-73 to 1974-75. Bruce won the Eddie Powers Trophy as OHL scoring champion in his final season when he potted 68 goals and added 97 assists for 165 points in 69 games. Bruce is in his fourth season as head coach of the Capitals but is in his twentieth as a coach at various levels of professional hockey.