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Former Flyers Forward Wins Jack Adams Award

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Philadelphia Flyers
Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame on Nov. 26, 2021. (Photo: AP)

For the first time in his career, former Philadelphia Flyers forward and Flyers Hall of Famer Rick Tocchet has won a prestigious NHL award; the Vancouver Canucks head coach was named the 2023-24 Jack Adams Award winner on Wednesday night, beating out fellow finalists Andrew Brunette and Rick Bowness for the right to be called the NHL’s best coach.

Tocchet, 60, has served as a head coach at the NHL level for eight seasons now and just finished his first full campaign behind the Canucks’ bench. Tocchet, of course, took over for Vancouver in the middle of the 2022-23 season, though not without fanfare, thanks to the manner in which his predecessor, Bruce Boudreau, was relieved of his duties as head coach.

Prior to that, the four-time NHL All-Star and three-time Stanley Cup champion served as head coach of the Arizona Coyotes from 2017 to 2021, making one playoff appearance in five seasons. Tocchet was also the one who took over for current Flyers head coach John Tortorella (and Barry Melrose, who had a very short stint) the season after Tortorella was fired by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

As a player, Tocchet spent parts of 11 storied seasons with the Flyers, scoring 232 goals, 276 assists, and 508 points in 621 games, including a team-leading 96 points for Paul Holmgren’s 1989-90 Flyers squad. The 60-year-old player-turned-coach spent 18 total seasons in the NHL, making stops in Pheonix, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, and Pittsburgh before returning to Philadelphia for parts of three final seasons, during which he played a progressively lower number of regular season games.

Tocchet managed to play 80 or more regular season games just three times in his NHL career, and none of those occasions were with the Flyers.

In the next chapter of his hockey career, though, Tocchet has managed to win the Jack Adams Award as the head coach of the Canucks, and that’s something only Alain Vigneault and Pat Quinn can also say about themselves.

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