In the summer of 1982, Phil Housley was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres. Fast forward 35 years, he’s now the franchise's head coach.
The Buffalo Sabres today announced Phil Housley as the 18th head coach in franchise history. He’s also the seventh former player to serve as the team’s head coach.
The Sabres were the last team to fill their head coaching vacancy, and there's a reason they waited. Housley was an assistant coach for the Nashville Predators, and the team had to wait until the Predators’ Stanley Cup Final was finished before hiring Housley. During his four seasons with Nashville, he formed one of the NHL’s best defensive corps. The Predators ranked in the top two in the league in goals by defensemen every season and finished in the top half in fewest goals allowed in each of the last three seasons.
"Based on his experience as a player and coach, we think Phil is uniquely qualified to be our head coach and to help us achieve our organizational goals,” Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill said in a statement. “His approach to the game aligns with the way we envision our hockey team playing and we're excited to see where his leadership will take us in the future."
A native of South St. Paul, Minnesota, Housley began his coaching career in 2004 as head coach of Stillwater Area High School in Minnesota. He served as the head coach when Team USA won the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was also an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.