OTTAWA (AP) – John Paddock won’t have to move far when he takes over as coach of the Ottawa Senators.
Paddock was promoted to the job of head coach Friday after two seasons as the Senators’ assistant coach, taking over a team that made it to the Stanley Cup finals this spring.
The 53-year-old Paddock, who played for parts of six seasons with the former Maine Mariners, will be the sixth coach in franchise history. He takes over from Bryan Murray, who was promoted to general manager in mid-June.
“John is known and respected by our players and that was a big reason in his being named head coach,” Murray said at a news conference. “I never considered John as an assistant coach. I considered him a partner.”
Paddock was coach of the Winnipeg Jets from 1991-95, compiling a record of 106-138-37. He played right wing for three clubs – Washington, Philadelphia and Quebec – between 1975 and 1983.
Between 1977 and 1984, Paddock played in 287 games for the Mariners in Portland, winning a pair of Calder Cups. He twice scored 30 goals.
“It’s an extremely exciting time when you become a head coach in the National Hockey League again,” Paddock said. “I don’t look at it as a difficult transition. This hockey team has been successful and has the same solid core of players. We’re not looking to reinvent the wheel by any means, we’re just looking to continue and have a successful season.”
Paddock became Jets coach in 1991, becoming the first Manitoba-born coach of that franchise.
He later added the general manager post, and gave up his job as coach in early 1994. He remained as general manager even after the team relocated to Phoenix, keeping that job until December 1996.
Paddock also has been an assistant GM with Philadelphia and director of pro scouting with the New York Rangers. While he hoped to one day return to the NHL as a head coach, it wasn’t a goal that consumed him.
“I’m not sure it’s something you think about,” he said. “It’s something you hope for. I thought it would happen at some point, but it if didn’t, it didn’t.”
Paddock talked to some Senators players before deciding to take the job.
“He’s been around the game a long time, and he’s done everything,” defenseman Wade Redden said. “He’s a good hockey man, a smart hockey man. Obviously, he’s going to treat us differently (than when he was an assistant), but he’s an honest guy.”