Ottawa Senators hire Pierre McGuire to lead player development

Former Hartford Whalers head coach, Pierre McGuire is now back with an NHL club. With the expiration of NBC’s TV hockey contract, some wondered where he would land next. Let the wondering cease, because the Ottawa Senators have hired McGuire as their VP of Player Development.

Senators hire Pierre McGuire

“On behalf of the entire Senators organization, I would like to welcome Pierre McGuire back to Ottawa,” owner Eugene Melnyk said in team release. “We are excited to add Pierre to our hockey management group. His experience will be instrumental as we continue to build an elite team. Pierre’s knowledge of the game and its players is highly regarded and I am confident that he will positively assist our team as it progresses to the next level.”

The new role will work closer with ownership and the team’s GM Pierre Dorion to develop new and existing players. A job that seems perfectly suited for the TV Analyst that appeared to know every NHL prospect’s favorite breakfast cereal growing up.

McGuire started his broadcasting career back in 1997, just a few years after being fired from the Whalers which lasted one year behind the bench. Prior to becoming Hartford’s head coach, he was a scout and assistant coach with the Penguins. The Whalers brought him on after the Pens Stanley Cup win in 1992, where he served as an assistant GM in Hartford as well.

What went wrong in Hartford

Pierre McGuire
Pierre McGuire (THE GAZETTE/John Kenney)

At the time, Pierre was one of the youngest NHL coaches at only 32 years of age. He didn’t last a year on the job before being fired and considered one of the most disliked people in the Whalers organization. Upon his firing, star forward Pat Verbeek said it was the best move for the organization.

McGuire was considered emotional, “pompous and arrogant”. Even though he was more than 10 games under .500, McGuire was heard saying how he out-coached the opposition. In a report that ran in the Hartford Courant in 1994, it read:

Many times he privately said after a game how he outcoached the other guy. But it was something never really made public until May 3, when McGuire proclaimed that no coach in the NHL “can outwit me.” That quote ran in The Hockey News and raised eyebrows all over the NHL.

Listen, Pierre is 27 years older and wiser. He certainly has learned from all of his experiences, and he’s been highly regarded in hockey circles for many years. At one point, he was considered for the GM job in Arizona last season. So it was only a matter of time before another team would take a chance on him.