When the Detroit Red Wings visited Vancouver mid-February, they turned some heads.
Led by Robby Fabbri’s three-point game, the Red Wings trounced the Canucks 6-1. This came two days after these same two teams met in Detroit, with the Red Wings beating the Canucks 5-2.
Vancouver’s issues aside, there is a new breed of hockey in Detroit, one that had the 11-time Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings in a hunt for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference this season.
The Red Wings have missed the playoffs for the past six seasons and haven’t finished above 25th overall since the 2015-16 season, but a positive 2022-23 season had Detroit back in the post-season conversation. Ultimately the Red Wings missed the post-season, but things are looking up.
What gives? Where does credit go for the impressive turnaround in Detroit?
Two words: Derek Lalonde
Derek Lalonde was hired as Detroit’s 28th Head Coach on June 30, 2022.
Lalonde, a product of Brasher Falls, New York, played goaltender for Cortland State college in the early 90s before moving right into coaching in the mid-90s. By 2011 the now 50-year-old had nine years of assistant coaching under his belt, split between Ferris State University and the University of Denver.
He was clearly headed for a head coaching role and he got his opportunity with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers; Lalonde accumulated a record of 114–56–8–6 over three seasons and led the Gamblers to their fourth Clark Cup title in 2012. He was named the USHL’s Coach of the Year that season.
That off-season, Lalonde served as a coach at the Tampa Bay Lightning development camp. It was his first taste of coaching in the NHL and true foreshadowing of things to come.
From 2014 to 2016, he coached the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to two consecutive regular season championships; Lalonde was named the ECHL’s Coach of the Year in 2014.
Are you seeing the pattern? Everything Lalonde touches turns to gold.
Two seasons with the Iowa Wild in the AHL and Lalonde was given the opportunity he had been working towards: coaching in the NHL. He served as an Assistant Coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2018 to 2022, helping lead the team to consecutive Stanley Cup titles in 2020 and 2021.
Now he’s at the helm of the Red Wings and things are looking better than they have in a long time in Detroit.
Did we mention Lalonde will be speaking at TCS Live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, running June 22-24 at the University of Michigan? Having coaches like Lalonde take part in this event is what makes it hockey’s premiere coaching conference and a can’t miss coaching masterclass.
“We’re super proud to have Coach Lalonde on hand to represent the Detroit Red Wings, HockeyTown and the State of Michigan,” said Aaron Wilbur, Founder of The Coaches Site. “His coaching journey is unique and showcases the compounding effect of continuous self improvement. There is so much our audience will be able to learn from the fast and dynamic style of play Derek has implemented with the Red Wings.”
Tickets to TCS Live 2023, taking place June 22-24 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor are ON SALE NOW! Click below for details.
Learn more about Lalonde and his exciting opportunity and challenge with the Red Wings in the video below.
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