Head Coach, Vancouver Canucks
John Tortorella was named the 17th Head Coach in Vancouver Canucks history June 25, 2013. He previously served in the NHL as Head Coach of the NY Rangers (1999.00; 2008-2013) and Tampa Bay Lightning (2000-2008).
Tortorella enters the 2013 season ranked first on the NHL’s all-time wins list among U.S.-born coaches with 410 career victories, having passed Peter Laviolette (PHI) with a 4-3 NY Rangers shootout win at Montreal on March 17, 2009.
Tortorella left the Rangers having coached the fifth most games in franchise history (319) and ranked fourth in franchise history in wins (171). In 2011.12, Tortorella led the team to their second most wins all-time in a single season with 51, and tied for second in franchise history with 109 points. He became the 30th coach in NHL history to coach 800 games on March 27, 2012, and on November 20, 2010, became the 40th head coach in League history to register his 300th NHL coaching victory, with a 5-2 win at Minnesota.
Prior to his second term with the Rangers, Tortorella served as Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning for seven seasons. Under his guidance, Tampa Bay compiled a 239-222-36-38 record in 535 games. He led the Lightning to four consecutive playoff appearances, including two Southeast Division Championships in 2002.03 and 2003.04. In 2003.04, Tortorella guided Tampa Bay to a franchise record 46 wins and 106 points, and went on to capture the only Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history. He was awarded the Jack Adams Award as the National Hockey League’s top coach following that season.
Tortorella joined Tampa Bay following a one-year stint with the Rangers in 1999.00 where he was an Assistant Coach and served as Head Coach for the final four games of the season. Prior to joining the Rangers, he spent two seasons as an Assistant Coach with the Phoenix Coyotes. He joined Phoenix during the 1997.98 season, after spending the previous eight seasons with the Buffalo Sabres organization. Tortorella served as an Assistant Coach with the Sabres from 1989.90 to 1994.95 and as Head Coach with their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Rochester Americans, during the 1995.96 and 1996.97 campaigns. He guided the club to the Calder Cup championship in 1995.96, and followed that up by posting the AHL Northern Conference’s best record during the 1996.97 regular season.
Tortorella’s coaching experience spans 25 years and includes several accolades. He began his tenure behind the bench with the Virginia Lancers of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL), where he spent two seasons as General Manager and Head Coach from 1986.87 to 1987.88 and immediately established himself as one of the league’s best. In two seasons with the Lancers, Tortorella compiled a 73-24-1-0 record to earn Coach of the Year honors both seasons, along with the league championship during the 1986.87 campaign. Following the 1987.88 season, Tortorella joined the Fort Wayne Komets of the International Hockey League (IHL) during their 1988 playoff run before serving as an Assistant Coach with the New Haven Nighthawks (AHL) in 1988-89.
Tortorella has also carried over his coaching success to the international stage. Most recently, he served as an assistant coach for the silver medal-winning Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. He also served as head coach for Team USA at the 2008 World Championship, and was an assistant coach at the 2005 World Championship.
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Tortorella played at Salem State College before transferring to the University of Maine of the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC), where he skated for three seasons as a right winger. After playing in Sweden, he returned to North America to skate in the ACHL with the Hampton Roads Gulls, Erie Golden Blades and Virginia Lancers.
Tortorella takes an active role in the community through The John and Christine Tortorella Family Foundation and has also become a prominent figure in animal rescue, spearheading the first NY Rangers Dog Walk in September of 2012 to raise money for the Westchester Humane society and other local shelters.