(ISN) – July 3, 2014 (EDMONTON, AB) – The Edmonton Oil Kings announced Thursday that head
coach Derek Laxdal will be leaving the team to accept the head coaching position
with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League (AHL), the AHL affiliate of the
“Derek’s been a big part of our success, and it’s great for him to get the chance to
move forward in his coaching career. He’s certainly helped our organization grow and
deserves this opportunity. It gives you an example that it’s not just about
developing players; it’s about developing people. It’s good to see those people get
rewarded when they should,” said Oil Kings General Manager Randy Hansch.
“We appreciate everything Derek has done for the Oil Kings the past four years and
wish him the best of luck in Texas. We will begin the process to hire a new head
coach in short order.”
Laxdal, 48, became the first WHL coach ever to record three straight 50-win seasons
in 2013-14 as Edmonton finished atop the Eastern Conference for the third
consecutive season with a 50-19-2-1 record. Under Laxdal’s guidance, the Oil Kings
went 180-83-23 over four seasons, making the playoffs in every campaign and winning
two WHL titles and a Memorial Cup.
“I would like to thank the Edmonton Oilers, Daryl Katz, Kevin Lowe, Patrick LaForge,
and Bob Green for giving me the opportunity to coach here and be a part of the
tremendous four years we’ve had,” Laxdal said.
“Also, thanks to Randy Hansch and his scouting staff for bringing in the players to
allow us to be competitive on the ice. We assembled a terrific coaching staff with
Steve Hamilton, Dustin Schwartz, Sean Brown, Jory Stuparyk and Vanessa Hettinger and
that was a big part of our success. I’d also like to thank Rogan Dean and Brian
Cheeseman for all the hard work they put in. Most of all, I’d like to thank the fans
in Edmonton for their terrific support.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to coach in the American Hockey League,”
Laxdal said. “I’m looking forward to taking that next step and hopefully coaching in
the National Hockey League some day.”
Prior to joining the Oil Kings, Laxdal served as head coach for Dallas’ ECHL
affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads, for five seasons, posting 40-win seasons each
campaign and an overall 219-108-35 regular season record. He also helped the team
qualify for the playoffs each season, made two ECHL Final appearances, and in 2007,
won the Kelly Cup as ECHL champions.
The native of Stonewall, Manitoba began his head-coaching career with the Wichita
Thunder in the CHL. He spent three seasons in Wichita from 2002-03 to 2004-05 where
he led the team to playoff appearances two times, compiling an 87-58-8
regular-season record as their head coach.
In total, Laxdal’s teams have qualified for the playoffs in 11 of 12 seasons, posted
a .600 points percentage nine times, advanced to the league final five times, and
won three championships in two different leagues.
Laxdal was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the eighth round (151st overall) of
the 1984 NHL Draft and played parts of six seasons with Toronto and the New York
Islanders, compiling 19 points in 67 career NHL contests.