Predators Hire Darby Hendrickson as Assistant Coach

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Press Release @PredsNHL Nashville Predators
Press Release @PredsNHL Nashville Predators

Nashville, Tenn. (June 21, 2024) – Nashville Predators General Manager Barry Trotz announced today that the team has hired Darby Hendrickson as an Assistant Coach. Hendrickson joins Assistant Coaches Derek MacKenzie and Todd Richards and Goaltending Coach Ben Vanderklok on Head Coach Andrew Brunette’s staff.

“We are excited to add a person and coach of Darby’s caliber to our organization,” Trotz said. “After spending more than a decade as a professional player, he has now been a quality coach in the NHL for a long time and further strengthens our staff’s ability to communicate and teach the game at a high level. His familiarity with Andrew Brunette – having been both teammates and coaches together in the past – adds to the cohesiveness of our group, and his experience as an NHL player and coach makes him very relatable to today’s player. With Darby now on our staff, our coaches own more than 2,200 combined games of NHL playing experience, something we feel is incredibly valuable for our team’s growth as we strive to achieve our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”

“I’m thrilled to re-unite with one of my former teammates in Darby and welcome him to the Predators organization,” Brunette said. “Strong communication, building relationships and establishing a connection with players are the fundamental building blocks of our coaching staff, and he exemplifies those values and skills. He also has a long history of not only developing young players but growing with them, making him a strong addition to our staff that seeks to continuously evolve. I’m looking forward to watching him use his experience as both a player and coach to improve our team.”

Hendrickson, 51 (8/28/72), joins the Predators after spending the previous 14 seasons (2010-24) as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Wild. During his tenure in Minnesota, the Wild qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs on 10 occasions, twice reaching the Second Round. Last season, Hendrickson helped lead Minnesota to a 39-34-9 record (87 points), with four Wild players recording at least 60 points and two skaters scoring at least 30 goals.

Hendrickson worked with Brunette for seven seasons while the two were in Minnesota, with both serving as assistant coaches for two campaigns from 2014-16; during their NHL playing careers, the two were teammates on the Wild for parts of three seasons from 2001-04. He also served as an assistant for current Predators Assistant Coach Todd Richards when Richards was head coach of the Wild in 2010-11.

As a player, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound center enjoyed a 518-game NHL career from 1995-04, recording 129 points (65g-64a) with Toronto, the New York Islanders, Vancouver, Minnesota and Colorado. He added six points (3g-3a) in 25 career postseason games, skating in a career-high 17 contests with Minnesota during the 2003 playoffs as a teammate of Brunette’s. Prior to turning pro, Hendrickson spent two years at the University of Minnesota, claiming the WCHA’s Rookie of the Year award in 1991-92 and claiming the WCHA championship in 1992-93.

The Richfield, Minn., native represented the United States internationally on several occasions as a player, competing in the World Championship six times, earning bronze in 1996; he also skated for the U.S. in the 1994 Olympics.

Hendrickson and his wife, Dana, have four children – Mason, Addison, Beckett and Rennick. Beckett was selected by Boston in the fourth round (124th overall) of the 2023 NHL Draft, and Mason played Division III collegiate hockey the previous two seasons at Gustavus Adolphus College. Hendrickson’s father, Larry, was a longtime high school hockey coach in Minnesota, and during the 2004-05 season, Brunette served as a volunteer coach on his staff at Benilde-St. Margaret’s in St. Louis Park, Minn.

Additionally, Trotz announced today that former Predators defenseman Cody Franson has been hired as a North American Amateur Scout. Franson, 36, played in 550 career NHL games from 2009-18, including 164 with Nashville from 2009-11 and 2014-15; he was selected by the Predators in the third round (79th overall) of the 2005 NHL Draft.

Source: Predators
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