The Wolves were so certain about who they wanted to hire as their coach that when they negotiated their affiliate contract with the St. Louis Blues, the potential hire of John Anderson was part of the discussion.
So almost immediately after the NHL season ended, Anderson signed a three-year deal with the Wolves. But it wasn’t until Tuesday that the organization officially announced it would bring back Anderson who won four league titles in 11 seasons as the Wolves’ head coach during a previous stint.
For owner Don Levin it means the end of a miserable two years in which the Wolves only won two playoff games.
“Two years ago was the worst year I’ve ever had in hockey,” Levin said. “Not last season, the season before. It was the worst I ever had. It was just a miserable, terrible experience. I hated every day.
“[In] the AHL there might be three or four coaches that can coach, that really know how to change their lines, they really know how to change their power play, how to change their breakouts, to change things on the fly.
“That’s a coach and John’s a coach. We’ve missed that. We’ve missed the professional coaching and for us that was a big thing.”
Anderson comes to the Wolves having most recently spent two seasons as an assistant with the Phoenix Coyotes. He was head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers from 2008-2010.
During his previous stint with the Wolves, Anderson guided the team to the playoffs 10 times.
Dave Allison and Scott Allen will join Anderson’s staff as assistants. Last season Allison coached the Peoria Rivermen who were affiliated with the Blues previous to St. Louis’ most recent deal with the Wolves.
“I wanted to be a head coach again and I couldn’t think of a more comfortable place and a better place, better organization, to go to than here,” Anderson said.
Over the past two seasons the Wolves have been inconsistent offensively, particularly on the power play.
While there will obviously be an overhaul of personnel due to the new affiliate deal, the organization wanted to bring in an offensive-minded coach who liked to play an exciting brand of hockey.
“We never interviewed anybody else, we knew what we wanted and we went after it,” general manager Wendell Young said. “Quite truly I could have interviewed 1,000 coaches and there wasn’t anybody but John.”