Los Angeles (AFP) – Lindy Ruff, who played 12 seasons in the NHL and was a head coach for 19 more, has been named the coach of the New Jersey Devils, the club announced on Thursday.
The former NHL coach of the year in 2006 takes over from John Hynes, who guided the club between 2015-2019. Hynes was fired on December 3.
“I’m super excited to become a part of the Devils family,” the 60-year-old Canadian Ruff said. “There’s a great history there. I know there’s a great foundation that has been built along with management.
“I can’t say enough about how humbled I am for this opportunity. I really feel like this is a great fit and I can’t wait to get going.”
Interim coach Alain Nasreddine took over briefly for Hynes and helped guide the Devils to a 28-29-12 record before the league shut down on March 12 because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Devils are one of seven teams that will not be included in the restart to the stunted season, of which the final details are still being worked out.
Ruff previously served as head coach of the Buffalo Sabres for 15 seasons (1997-2013) and the Dallas Stars for four seasons (2013-17). Ruff won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year in 2005-06.
Ruff played 12 seasons in the NHL, scoring 105 goals and 300 points for the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers.
Ruff’s family has deep hockey roots. His three brothers all played major junior in Canada, including Brent Ruff who died in 1986 when the Swift Current Broncos team bus crashed in a snowstorm, killing four players and injuring several others.
New Jersey also announced it will keep Tom Fitzgerald in the role of general manager. He was promoted when Ray Shero was fired January 12.
“We are proud and excited to have Lindy Ruff join our organization as head coach. He is one of the most successful and respected coaches in the NHL, not only today, but in League history,” said Fitzgerald.