Minnesota suddenly ‘Land of the Interims’
After eight straight losses, the Minnesota Wild has fired Head Coach Mike Yeo. After a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at Xcel Center Saturday, the team’s eighth-straight loss at home, the decision was made to cut ties with Yeo, who was in his fifth season as head coach.
The Wild have been in the playoffs the last three years, and expectations in the State of Hockey for 2016 were for them to return and go deeper in the playoffs. Yeo was 173-132-44, and last season he led the Wild to a 46-28-8 record, the second most wins and points in franchise history.
John Torhetti, a former Chicago Blackhawks assistant, is the team’s new interim coach — his first game behind the bench was Monday at Vancouver. Torhetti twice previously has been an interim head coach in the NHL, with Florida in 2003-2004 and with the Los Angeles Kings in 2005-06.
The Wild are one of the league’s most popular franchises. They average well over 18,000 fans per game. Right now the Wild would not qualify as a playoff team in 2016, but there is time to change that.
The NBA Timberwolves also have an interim head coach in Sam Mitchell. He became interim coach after the sudden death of team President and Head Coach Flip Saunders in October of 2015.
The University of Minnesota fired Norwood Teague, who was found to have sexually harassed women in the department. The University then named Beth Goetz as interim athletic director.
Minnesota is in the unique position of having interim head coaches for both pro teams and the University of Minnesota’s athletic program. Now that is rare indeed.